Overcoming a host of hurdles, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will commission the four-lane 26.78 km Kazhakuttam-Mukkola Bypass of National Highway (NH) 66 in the capital and kick off the six-laning of NH 66 from Thalapady on the Kerala-Karnataka border on October 13.

Through videoconference, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will dedicate the 26.79-km Reach I of the Kazhakuttom Bypass to the nation in the presence of Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran, Ministers, and legislators.

Eight works of the NHAI, estimated to cost ₹13,196 crore including six-laning of the NH 66 in Kasaragod, Kannur and Kozhikode districts with a Right of Way (RoW) of 45 metre and reconstruction of Cheruthoni bridge along the NH 185 in Idukki district that was damaged in the 2018 floods, will also be launched at the function.

In the reconstruction of the Cheruthoni bridge, the NHAI will raise the height of the bridge to ensure safe travel between Adimali and Kumily.

The works in Kasaragod, Kannur and Kozhikode involves the first 39-km corridor from Thalapady to Chengala in Kasaragod district, Chengala-Neeleswaram, Perol-Taliparamba,Taliparamba-Muzhappilangad, reconstruction of the Paloli and Murad bridges into six-lane,Vadakara-Azhiyur-Vengalam, and Kozhikode bypass that will link Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.

The road corridor being six-laned is part of the 526-km NH 66 corridor from Thalapady to Kazhakuttam in the capital. At present, the State can boast of a four-lane NH corridor only on the 32-km stretch from Chalakudy in Thrissur to Edappally in Ernakulam.

The much-delayed six-laning of the NH 66 was being taken up following a series of initiatives taken by the LDF government and the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Gadkari, Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran said.

The hurdles over fixing the alignment, acquiring the land, and fixing the compensation were overcome through the talks, the Minister said. The State was paying 25% cost of the land being acquired by the NHAI and the funds were being made available by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

For getting speedy clearance, the entire NH 66 corridor in the State was split further into small packages to take advantage of the Centre’s decision to allow the MoRTH to approve projects of up to ₹2,000 crore.

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