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Bulldozers in action for wider highway

Berhampur, Dec. 12: Road is being cleared to convert a 12-km stretch of a national highway that passes through Berhampur into four lanes.

An anti-encroachment drive was launched along the highway near Engineering School Square here to pave the way for the four-laning work.

“In the first phase, we have taken up the task to convert NH-59 into four lanes from Kamapalli to Lingaraj Law College that passes through the Engineering School Square. The work will cost Rs 10 crore,” said R.K. Maharana, executive engineer of the Berhampur National Highway Division.

The total width of NH-59, , which connects Gopalpur in Odisha to Raipur in Chhattisgarh, will be 56.08ft, including a 4.92ft drain and 1.96ft road divider.

Four-lane work of NH-59 from Gate Bazaar to Aska Road 1st Gate is also in progress, he said. “We have invited tenders to convert NH-59 into four lanes from Lingaraj Law College to National Highway 5 and Aska Road 1st Gate to the crematorium. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has provided Rs 10 crore to make NH-59 into four lanes and another Rs 20 crore will be sanctioned,” he said.

“We were forced to launch anti-encroachment drive from Engineering School Square as we faced obstacles in construction of drains,” he said.

The NH-59, earlier called NH-217, was declared a national highway in 2001. The process for the four-laning of NH-59 has just began and it would be constructed phase-by-phase, sources said.

The public health department authorities of the drinking water supply system, power supply company Southco and the BSNL have been contacted by the national highway authorities to relocate their wires, poles, underground cables and pipes so that the national highway four-laning work is taken up in the city. The district administration and the local Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) have also been approached to make arrangements so that the encroachments get removed before the widening work starts, he said.

Rashmiranjan Nayak, tehsildar, Berhampur said the process of widening of NH-59 all along Berhampur had just begun.