Vehicles kick up dust on NH-33 near Jamshedpur and (below) a waterlogged crater yawns on the road. (Bhola Prasad)
A 6km stretch on NH-33, marrow and pock-marked with craters, is set to be a smooth passage by the year-end, thanks to a green signal from Union ministry of environment and forests to begin road widening work on the stretch.
Madhucon Projects Ltd, the Hyderabad-based concessionaire for the Rs 1,479-crore project of four-laning the highway, received the approval from the ministry on August 30.
The green clearance was mandatory owing to proximity of the stretch, which runs from Dimna to Kanderbera in Chandil, to Dalma wildlife sanctuary.
Work on overhauling the existing two-lane will begin once an alternative road gets constructed to facilitate traffic movement.
There are plans to dig up the road to a depth of 3ft in order to remove the 2.5ft layer of black cotton soil.
The spongy soil is considered completely unfit as a base for road construction owing to its high affinity for water.
Senior project manager of Madhucon Projects Limited Uday Kumar said the deplorable condition of the 6km stretch had prompted them to take up work on a priority basis.
“Once monsoon ends, we will begin work on constructing the alternative road. Thereafter, we will start digging up the existing road,” he added.
A senior official of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), who did not want to be named, said the concessionaire had been asked to accord topmost priority to repair the stretch.
“Groundwork on constructing the alternative road has already begun in the form of clearing exercises. The concessionaire has promised to construct the alternative road by the end of 2013 after which they will start a complete overhaul of the existing stretch. Overhauling is likely to take another four months. By the first quarter of 2014, the 6km stretch will be four-laned,” said the official.
According to the agreement with NHAI, Madhucon has to finish four-laning work on the 163km stretch from Ranchi to Mahulia (near Jamshedpur) by July 2015. Maintenance will be the firm’s responsibility for 15 years.