Alka Upadhyaya

Kolkata: National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on Tuesday said it aims at awarding contracts worth Rs 25,000 crore for 270 km road projects in West Bengal during the current fiscal.

In a bid to reduce congestion from Vidyasagar Setu in the state, it has decided to construct a 6.5-km six-lane elevated road on the existing four-lane Kona Expressway at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore and will float a tender for the project by December this year, an official said.

NHAI also expects to award a contract worth Rs 12,000 crore for the 245-km Kharagpur-Burdwan-Morgram stretch by this fiscal as the road will connect two growth centres and eliminate vehicles coming to Kolkata from Kharagpur for their onward journey to Siliguri via NH 34, the official said.

So far in West Bengal, construction of a total of 1,201 km road network has been completed by NHAI. At present, the construction work for 356 km of projects is ongoing. The total cost of ongoing projects is Rs 13,570 crore.

“We are also planning to award 270-km of projects worth Rs 25,000 crore in 2022-23, which will not only improve connectivity within the state but also boost economy, NHAI chairperson Alka Upadhyaya said on the sidelines of a two-day review meeting for four states and a programme on Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in the city.

Speaking on road construction works in West Bengal, she said a majority of the hurdles are being addressed even as several projects witness numerous headwinds.

NHAI is not only constructing roads of world-class standard but also taking a keen interest in building accident-free national highways. This is our major focus and we are undertaking third party road safety audits, the chairperson said.

To minimise the number of accidents on highways, some stretches have been identified as a zero fatality corridor, NHAI regional head R P Singh said.

Barakar to Panagarh section of NH-2 in West Bengal is one of them. NHAI is also identifying black spots (accident-prone places) with the state police. As many as 459 black spots have been identified. Of these, 301 have been made safe by implementing long-term corrective measures, while work is in progress on 146 black spots. Rectification work on the remaining such places will also begin shortly, the official said.

Speaking on the Vidyasagar Setu, he said the six-lane elevated road will ease the traffic congestion on it.

Both the projects will be awarded this year, he said.

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