The newly repaired stretch of NH-33 glistens near Pardih Kali Mandir in Jamshedpur on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Commuters frequenting the NH-33 stretch between Ranchi and Jamshedpur can now look forward to smooth rides instead of bone-rattling ones.
Hyderabad-based Madhucon Projects Limited, the concessionaire entrusted with widening the NH-33 into four lanes, completed repair work of the 163km stretch between Ranchi and Mohulia near Jamshedpur on Tuesday.
Interestingly, work completed four days ahead of Jharkhand High Court’s deadline to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to submit a status report on NH-33 repair by February 3.
Director of NHAI’s Ranchi-based project implementation unit Awadhesh Kumar confirmed on Tuesday that repair work on the potholed stretch, which witnessed a series of protests from various sections of the society, had finally been completed.
“As directed by Jharkhand High Court, we will submit a status report on February 3 on the status of repair work. Fortunately, the concessionaire has completed work well in advance,” he added.
Jharkhand High Court division bench of Justices D.N. Patel and P.P. Bhatt, while hearing a PIL filed by one Sudhir Mahto in 2011 on the poor state of NH-32, had on December 3, 2013, set a March 2014 deadline for its first phase of repair work and taken note of protests related to potholed NH-33 as well.
Giving attention to both NH-32 and NH-33, the bench had extended the scope of verdict and directed NHAI to repair the highway and submit a status report by February 3.
Meanwhile, NHAI has asked concessionaire Madhucon Projects Limited to expedite four-laning on the 6km stretch between Asanboni and Jamshedpur, which has been commuters’ pain for a long time, before rainy season.
“This stretch needs a complete overhaul as mere repair work will not help it withstand the onslaught of the rains owing to the poor condition of soil — black cotton soil — underneath the construction. So, we have asked the concessionaire to make two new lanes for traffic for now, while the old ones are dug up,” the project director suggested.
The concessionaire has already started basework on the stretch.
“We spent nearly Rs 7.5 crore in repairing the 163km-long NH-33 stretch between Ranchi and Mohulia near Jamshedpur. We used wet mixed macadam — a base of crushed rock and slag with a controlled amount of water to filling up and levelling potholes — with a thick layer of bitumin to ensure smooth rides. We have started four-laning work and hope to shift traffic to two new lanes and repair the old ones before monsoon,” said senior project manager of Madhucon Projects Limited Uday Kumar.
The concessionaire officials also expressed confidence that they would speed up work and make up for delays and complete four-laning the 6km by December 2015, six months later than the June 2015 deadline.