The road construction work between Nandarapadavu-Chevar reach, which is the first stretch of the Hill Highway, will be completed and ready for inauguration by the end of August.
The 23-km-long reach would be completed at a cost of ₹54.67 crore, said K.P. Vinod Kumar, executive engineer, PWD (Roads). The construction work had come to halt for the past two months due to the COVID-19 lockdown, but the work progressed rapidly when construction resumed, he said.
The 127.80-km Hilly Highway passing through the district would be completed in four stretches. The 12-metre-wide highway would have a 7-metre carriageway and a 1-metre-wide walkway on both sides. In addition, bridges, culverts, and dividers were being constructed at the required places, Mr. Kumar said.
The Hilly Highway which would begin from Nandarapadavu in the north of the district, would connect to Cherupuzha, which borders Kannur district. It passes from Nandarappada to Sungathakatte, Pivalige, Chevar, Angadimogar, Idiyadukka, Badiyadukka, Mulleria, Padiyathadukka, Athanadi, Edapparamba, Pandi, Pallanchi, Sankarambadi, Bandadka, Manadukkam, Kolichal, Pathinettam Mile, Chully, Vallikkadavu, and Chittarikkal to reach Cherupuzha. Funding for the project was provided through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.
Mr. Kumar said that the 49.63-km-long Chevar-Edapparambu Reach, the longest stretch in the district, had received financial approval. The process for technical approval of the project costing ₹83.85 crore was in progress.
Likewise, construction work on the Edapparamba-Kolichal Reach is almost half-complete. The stretch was 24.4-km-long and had 3.5 km of forest trail in two places. Therefore, the Forest department was in the process of approving 4.33 hectares of land to improve the 12-metre-wide road here, he said. A amount of ₹85.15 crore had been allotted for the Edapparambu Kolichal reach through KIIFB, he said.
Similarly, the 30.77-km stretch from Kolichal to the district boundary of Cherupuzha was being constructed at a cost of ₹82 crore. About 31 per cent of the work had been completed. The 3.1-km stretch of the reach passed through the Maruthom Katamkavala forest. Here too, steps were being taken to make forest land available for the project.
With the completion of the Hill Highway, the road from Cherupuzha to the major towns of Sullia, Madikeri, and Mangaluru in Karnataka will become a reality. With this, the distance from Cherupuzha to Sullia will be significantly reduced.
In addition, the highway will easily connect the eastern part of the district and the southern Kannada district with the Kannur Airport and would increase the tourism potential.