Survey of six-lane Bangalore-Mysore project to begin soon, says Minister

September 9, 2014

Construction to start by 2015

Minister for Public Works H.C. Mahadevappa has said survey work on the six-lane Bangalore-Mysore National Highway (NH 275) project will get going next week and construction is expected to begin by 2015.

Upgrading of the existing four-lane Bangalore-Mysore State highway to a six-lane at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crore was conceived owing to ever-increasing traffic density between the two cities. The project is expected to be completed in two years.

Mr. Mahadevappa said it will be a toll highway but will have a service road for the entire stretch. The fare will be determined based on distance travelled, he said.

The road will have flyovers at Bidadi and Srirangapatna and bypasses across Ramanagar, Channapatna and Mandya. There will be underpasses at 500-metre intervals through the Maddur stretch.

The cost of land acquisition for the project is pegged at Rs. 1,100 crore, construction at Rs. 1,600 crore and maintenance and utility at Rs. 300 crore. A total of Rs. 2.75 crore is being spent on the survey. The highway project work will be implemented under Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) basis on public-private partnership. The private player will maintain the road for a period of 18 years.

In all, the Union Ministry of Surface Transport has approved upgrading of 1,680 km of State Highway into National Highway in the State.

 Source:The Hindu

A dangerous stretch of NH

July 31, 2014

15 accidents reported during this monsoon The number of accidents on the Kozhikode-Kannur stretch of the National Highway 17, especially the 44-kilometre stretch between Vadakara and Kannur, is yet to come down despite efforts by the Motor Vehicle Department and the police to strictly implement traffic rules. Since the beginning of the monsoon season, no fewer than 15 accidents were reported on the route, including those involving school buses, motorbikes, goods-carriers, and buses. “The vehicles, especially contract carriages, seem to be exploiting to the hilt the recent modification of speed limit to 80 km per hour,” Radhakrishnan, a native of Vadakara, says. Even during rainy days, vehicles are found crossing this speed limit unmindful of the slippery road and blurred vision. Senior officials of the Motor Vehicles Department say they have identified 18 “black spots” on the Kozhikode-Kannur national highway to take up surveillance measures. “We identified these spots taking into account the frequency of accidents there,” they say. MVD sources say an earlier suggestion to install radar cameras on all identified “black spots” is still pending. Same is the case with the proposal to set up special control rooms to receive live feeds from radar cameras. Along with surveillance, rescue operations too are facing setback. In a recent accident, three injured travellers in an overturned car had to remain inside the vehicle for over two hours as local people had no mechanism to pull them out. In another incident, it took hours to remove a car that was gutted near a busy traffic junction in Vadakara.

18 black spots identified on the 44-km stretch

Proposal to set up radar cameras with live feeds

Source:The Hindu

New project to bring dist HQs on NH map

July 28, 2014

Dipak Dash |New Delhi:

Road ministry has started preparation for a new phase of national highway development to connect every district headquarter with NHs. To be named as NHDP-VIII, this would cover about 7,300 km roads, which would be made at least two lanes.Sources said since these are newly declared NHs, their widening work can be taken up on government funding mode. None of the project is likely to cross Rs 500 crore.
This means the road transport and highways ministry can approve all these projects and thereby fast tracking construction work.“We are going to come out with this new phase. How and who will undertake these works, whether NHAI or state PWDs or the ministry , will be decided later. These projects can take off quickly since land availability for two lanes should not be a problem,“ said an official. At present, there are seven NHDP phases covering different programmes.The progress has been dismal in phase-VI and VII.

Six-laning work of NH45 begins

July 15, 2014


Over 90,000 vehicles use the stretch connecting Tambaram and Tindivanam. Photo: M. Srinath
The Hindu Over 90,000 vehicles use the stretch connecting Tambaram and Tindivanam. Photo: M. Srinath

Preparatory work has commenced for the six-laning of a 93-km stretch on the Chennai-Tiruchi highway (NH45) from Tambaram to Tindivanam.

According to sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the consultant has begun preparing the land plan schedule that identifies government and private lands. The consultant is also drawing up the estimate for shifting of utilities along the road that is used by over 90,000 vehicles a day.

The process including enumeration of trees along the road will take two years. “Since the concessionaire has a contract to build, operate and transfer the road for a period of 17.5 years, which is till November 2019, the NHAI will take a call as to when the work can be taken up,” explained an official. Work to widen the road into a four-lane facility began in May 2002 and was completed in October 2004 when tolling began.

A decision will also be taken regarding widening of the urban stretches upto Tambaram. “We have to take into consideration various factors including the Chennai Outer Ring Road that takes off from Vandalur, the railway track running on one side of the road and the densely populated urban stretch. Land acquisition will be a major issue in these areas,” he said.

R. Samban, who recently travelled by the NH45 to Tiruchi, said that the lighting could be improved on some stretches. “Some of the curves are quite sharp. During the widening, care must be taken to improve visibility at these points. The NHAI must also ensure that trees along the road are not cut but transplanted,” he said.



Ekm-Thrissur NH travel to cost more

July 7, 2014

TNN | Jun 25, 2014,

KOCHI: Travel on the Edappally-Angamaly-Mannuthy stretch of the NH 47 got expensive from Tuesday midnight.Guruvayur Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, the firm which constructed the highway, increased the toll rates after it recently received a favourable order from the high court.

According to the revised rates, private light motor vehicles are charged Rs 65 for a single trip at the Paliyekkara toll plaza. A two-way trip will cost Rs 95. The monthly pass rate, too, has been increased to Rs 1,890 from the earlier Rs 1,790

Light commercial vehicles will have to pay Rs 110 for a single trip, and Rs 165 for two-way trip. The monthly charge has been raised to Rs 3,305 from Rs 3,130.

In the case of heavy vehicles like buses and lorry, operators will have to pay to Rs 220 for a single trip and Rs 330 for two way.

Vehicles with multi-axles will have to pay Rs 355 instead of Rs 335 for single trip. Two-way will cost Rs 530.

Based on a Central government notification, the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) company Guruvayur Infrastructure, was to implement the revised rate in September 2013.

However, the decision was not implemented following public ire and a stay order by the Thrissur district collector. The Kerala high court on June 4 quashed the collector’s order.

Following the hike, various political parties took out protest rallies on Tuesday. CPM, CPI and BJP said they would launch separate protest programmes till the hike is cancelled.

Roads of trouble

April 7, 2014


Over the past couple of years, traffic growth on national highways has slid precipitously, in conjunction with the economy and industrial production. A view of National Highway 7, one of the busiest National Highways in South India with a total length of 472 km. File Photo
The Hindu Over the past couple of years, traffic growth on national highways has slid precipitously, in conjunction with the economy and industrial production. A view of National Highway 7, one of the busiest National Highways in South India with a total length of 472 km. File Photo

Road developers are in a tizzy as both debt-servicing ability and returns of national highway projects have come under severe strain as the economics has gone haywire because of low traffic, execution delays and cost overruns.

Over the past couple of years, traffic growth on national highways has slid precipitously, in conjunction with the economy and industrial production. An analysis of traffic growth across 15 national highway projects that have been operational for over three years revealed that overall traffic growth, estimated at 7-8 per cent between fiscals 2008 and 2011, slumped to 3-4 per cent in 2012 and to 2-3 per cent in 2013. In fiscal 2014 too, the traffic growth has been weak due to sluggish economic activity.

The culprit was commercial vehicle traffic, whose slowdown overshadowed a healthy 15 per cent average growth in passenger vehicle traffic during this period.

Special purpose vehicles

This deteriorating trend is also mirrored in the revenues of a dozen special purpose vehicles (SPVs) operating under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. Revenues of these SPVs have grown by about 12 per cent in the past couple of years. During this period, toll rates rose by 8-9 per cent per annul as these are linked to the wholesale price . But poor traffic growth negated most of the benefits.

The scenario is unlikely to improve much in the near-term. Road traffic has high correlation with industrial growth . While we expect IIP to recover in fiscal 2015 to about 4 per cent from the decadal low of about 1 per cent it hit in fiscal 2014, it will remain well below the long-term average.

Consequently, commercial vehicle traffic growth will be lacklustere and overall traffic growth on national highways will languish at 3-5 per cent in fiscal 2015. As almost the entire operating costs in a road project are fixed in nature, any variation in the traffic, especially during initial years, has a significant bearing on the project returns.

Slow traffic growth on national highways is not the only problem plaguing developers. Base traffic (in the first year of a highway’s operation) has been much lower compared to the NHAI draft project report estimates. To be sure, developers would have done their own math on traffic, including expected leakages and exempt vehicles, before bidding, yet they will be concerned about how wide off the mark the original estimates were.

Compounding these problems for road developers are delays and the resultant cost overruns. Of the 78 BOT projects completed between fiscals 2000 and 2013, more than three-fourths or 61 projects faced delays, with the average time overrun at 10.5 months. The situation has only worsened in the last couple of years. Execution hasn’t begun for about 33 projects awarded in fiscal 2012 .

The double whammy of lesser-than-expected traffic and cost overruns has severely impaired the debt-repayment ability of developers. For five of these projects, the average debt-service coverage ratio during the first five years of operations is estimated to be less than one. This means equity infusion is essential to ensure timely servicing of debt, especially since tying up for additional debt will be difficult in the current scenario. Returns for these road projects are also expected to be 8-14 per cent, much lower than the 22-26 per cent returns based on NHAI traffic and cost estimates.

The above-mentioned scenario is representative of most road developers. Clearly, road developers are being buffeted by problems from all sides and have very limited room for manoeuvre. Recently, the government offered some respite by relaxing exit norms and allowing for premium deferment in the case of stressed projects. However, it might turn out to be a case of too little, too late.

The author is Director, Crisil Research, a division of Crisil



Rs 1,141 cr to be spent for four-laning of Ambala-Kaithal

March 13, 2014

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh

A sum of Rs 1,141 crore would be spent on the four-laning of Ambala-Kaithal section of the National Highway 65 connecting  Haryana with Rajasthan.

This was said by Haryana Transport Minister Aftab Ahmad while replying to a question raised by MLA Ram Pal Majra during the ongoing budget session of the state assembly here today.

He said the four-laning of the Ambala-Kaithal section of NH-65 would be done as a BoT project.

The bids for the project will open on March 27, 2014 with a construction period of 30 months.

The scope of work includes three railway over bridges, three flyovers, six underpasses, five bypasses at Ambala, Matheri, Ismailabad, Pehowa and Kaithal, he added.