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Yen for smart highway

The National Highway-83 from Patna to Dobhi via Gaya would be upgraded to four lanes with advanced traffic management system with funds from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) on Friday signed an overseas development assistance loan agreement with the Government of India to provide 22,903 million Japanese Yen (Rs 1,350 crore) for the Bihar National Highway Improvement Project. The deal to upgrade the highway would boost tourism in the Buddhist circuit.

“Japan places great importance on improving the infrastructure in India. Bihar is India’s one of the biggest states and is rapidly developing. But lack of quality highways has been a big impediment to the progress of the state. The overseas development assistance loan is expected to contribute to the enhancement of the investment climate and development of tourism in Bihar,” said Shinya Ejima, the chief representative of Jica-India.

Under the agreement, the funds would be used to widen the 127.3-km road into four lanes and for constructing bypasses, bridges and service lanes.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been entrusted with the task of constructing the road. NHAI sources said the project cost is around Rs 1,900 crore and the assistance from the Jica is around 80 per cent of the civil construction cost. The Centre would provide the remaining funds.

Sources added that the upgraded NH-83 would be the first ever road in the country to have the advanced traffic management system.

“Sensors would be fitted into the median of the four-lane road. These sensors would provide information about the speed of the v ehicle. The sensors would also record the registration number of the vehicles,” an NHAI official said.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras would be placed at a reasonable height on poles along the road.

There would be three patrol cars along the highway. They would get data recorded by sensors on a continuous basis. In case of any exigency, the patrol cars would reach the spot as soon as possible.

Five ambulances and three cranes would be deployed on the hi-tech road. The ambulances would be placed around 25km from each other. Their positioning would be done in such a way that in case of an accident they would reach the spot within 10 minutes.

The loan agreement signed the NHAI would float tenders for the construction work within a couple of days. The contract would be awarded in three months.

“The selected firm would be given three months for mobilisation of equipment. The construction work may start from September,” said the NHAI official.