Vijayawada: The tunnel road in Chittinagar has become the underlying lifeline for the city. The tunnel which was formed after excavating small portion of the Indrakeeladri hill during 1960s has been serving the city since decades.
And now it has become the only alternative for city traffic following the closure of National Highway at Kankadurga temple in view of constructing a flyover. Otherwise, people have to travel at least four kilometers extra to reach Gandhinagar from Bhavanipuram.
Before the excavation of the tunnel, people of Bhavanipuram, Gollapudi and others areas had to take the National Highway to reach Satyanarayanapuram, Governorpet, Gandhinagar and other areas which were centres of all activities then.
However, after the inauguration of the tunnel road on January 4, 1965 by the then union minister for transport, the distance of travel from Bhavanipuram to city has cut by half and moving around the Indrakeeladri hill was not necessary. The tunnel bisects the nearly five-kilometer-long hill range of Indrakeeladri and paved way for Vijayawada Bypass Road. On Indrakeeladri, areas like Chittinagar, Mahantipuram, Lambadipet, Islampet and others are located currently.
“The tunnel is less used currently compared to the past. However, it still serves as a lifeline to the city serving lakhs of population each day. It was planned and built by the eminent engineer Dr K.L. Rao,” explained Mr K. Ravi Raju, a veteran staying near the tunnel at Mahantipuram. In fact, the tunnel is living up to the name Bezawada, which was the actual name of Vijayawada decades ago.
“Bejjam’ is the Telugu word for tunnel or hole. As the tunnels are made in hills by the grace of God, this area was called Bejjawada or Bezawada, for short. It went by the names of Bijapuri and Vijayavatika”, says Prof. K.K. Moorthy, who mastered temple literature in a book called The Alayas of Andhra Pradesh.
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