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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Kochi-Kozhikode NH 66 corridor widening to be completed by April 2025

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has set April 2025 as the deadline to complete widening of the Edappally-Ramanattukara stretch of NH 66 that connects Kochi and Kozhikode as a four or six-lane corridor. The widened NH will enable motorists to save over an hour in commuting time.

The 165-km largely two-lane stretch that comes under the NHAI’s Kochi project implementation unit and is part of the Kanyakumari-Panvel NH 66 will have between four- and six-lane width on the Edappally-Kappirikkad stretch and six-lane width in the rest of the corridor. “The ground-level widening work began a fortnight ago in Ernakulam district, while around 15% of the work is over in Malappuram district. The six-lane carriageway will be in addition to a pair of two-lane service roads which would have a seven-metre tarred carriageway on either side,” said sources.

The highway will be partly access-controlled on the congested 36-km Edappally-Muthakunnam stretch, while continuing till Ramanattukara as an access-controlled one. On an average, the alignment of the stretch would be 1.5 metres above the surrounding areas to prevent inundation during rains, they added.

The 39-km Valanchery-Ramanattukara stretch, where widening and construction work began as early as January, will be the first corridor to be developed into a six-lane one by July 2024. The heavily built up 26-km Edappally-Kodungallur stretch, where land acquisition was bogged down by delays, will be developed by April 2025.

The stretch alone will have four flyovers, including a six-lane conventional flyover at Cheranalloor, and eight overbridges. The NHAI had earlier envisaged a clover-leaf flyover here in anticipation of an increase in the number of container lorries from the Vallarpadam container transshipment terminal. Likewise, there will be two flyovers and an overbridge on the Kodungallur-Thalikulam stretch, a flyover and two overbridges on the Thalikulam-Kappirikkad stretch, a pair of flyovers and four overbridges on the Kappirikkad-Valancherry stretch, and two flyovers and an overbridge on the Valancherry-Ramanattukara stretch.

Even as the agency has promised to construct underpasses in busy areas for safe crossing beneath the NH stretch, residents, people’s representatives, and others have been clamouring for more of them, considering that the highway passes mostly through densely populated areas.

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