The State Highways Department is looking at moving Mettupalayam bypass road project to the National Highways (NH) wing.

Officials here said the plan to develop a four-lane bypass road for 7.25 km hit a road block as the land acquisition cost is estimated to be ₹610 crore.

Apart from this, the cost of laying the road is working out to ₹10 crore to ₹12 crore for a km. When the road was planned more than five years ago, the land acquisition cost was expected to be just about ₹110 crore. “This was planned as a greenfield, four-lane road. Since the land cost is working out to be very high, the State Highways plans to give it to the NH,” an official said.

The NH is yet to decide if it will take up the project. But, there is a proposal, an official of the NH said.

K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause, said the bypass road was planned initially as a part of the Coimbatore bypass road between Neelambur and Narasimhanaikenpalayam, more than 10 years ago. It did not take off then as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) wanted to have a toll gate at Narasimhanaikenpalayam. The public opposed this proposal and the project was dropped. However, Mettupalayam is the gateway to the Nilgiris, connecting Coimbatore and the Nilgiris. There is just one road at Mettupalayam, which is also a major vegetable trade hub. Since a bypass road was a requirement, the State Highways Department planned a Mettupalayam bypass road and it was approved by the Coimbatore district road safety committee in 2013-2014.

The alignment was finalised and even 15 (2) notification issued for land acquisition. Moving the project to the NH now is likely to delay the project by more than five years. “An official of NH said that they need to start from the scratch if they take up the project. Why did the State government take up the proposal if it cannot execute it,” he asked. A bypass road project at Mettupalayam is not just for that town but for all those going to or coming from the Nilgiris, a major tourism destination, he said.

Source – THE Hindu

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