Siliguri, June 18: The state public works department has said repair of the landslide-affected stretch along NH55 at Paglajhora was over and it will be reopened for light vehicles in 10 days.
Nirmal Mondal, the executive engineer (NH division IX) of the state PWD, said the damaged portion at Paglajhora — 35 km from here — had been repaired with Rs 3.45 crore given by the state disaster management of department.
“The stretch at Paglajhora has remained closed since May last year after 100 metres of the road collapsed because of landslides. The work of rebuilding the damaged portion at a level with the rest of the highway has been completed. Currently, other allied works are going on. We hope the road will be reopened in the next 10 days,” said Mondal.
“Initially, the road will be open for light vehicles. Heavy vehicles will be allowed to run at a later date,” said Mondal.
The NH55, also called Hill Card Road, connects Siliguri with Darjeeling, 78km away.
The reopening of the highway at Paglajhora will be beneficial for the local people because they now use rough short-cut paths to bypass the damaged stretch.
Around 500 metres of NH55 at Paglajhora had been damaged in June 2010. The stretch was repaired with funds from the Union ministry of road transport and reopened before the monsoon in 2012. But the road had to be shut at Paglajhora again in May last year, after 100 metres of the reconstructed stretch collapsed.
Another landslide washed away 150 metres of NH55 at Tindharia, 5km downhill from Paglajhora, in September 2011.
Both Paglajhora and Tindharia fall on the Siliguri-Kurseong section of the highway. The Kurseong-Darjeeling section (33km) of NH55 is not disrupted at any point.
The Union ministry of road transport and highways sanctioned Rs 83 crore for repairing the damaged stretch at Tindharia. Mondal said the repair at Tindharia was going on and the PWD wanted to reopen the stretch in February 2015.