Nightmare travel on NH-5 stretch

December 11, 2013

Manabesh Mohanty,TNN |  

 CUTTACK: To cross a mere 500-metre stretch from Press Chhak and Madhupatna Square on National Highway No. 5, it takes more than 35 to 45 minutes.

NH-5 connects the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

The problem is an under-construction flyover near Madhupatna for which the private construction company has not made arrangements for a diversion. This situation has been going on for the past three to four months.

The construction company in question has not made any attempts to clear encroachment on the road which would have made it possible to create a diversion.

The National Highways Authority of India declined to comment.

One pedestrian killed every week in 2013 in Kochi

December 10, 2013

Gireesh P Krishnan,TNN

KOCHI: This certainly is a dubious record that should make the traffic police squirm: In 2013, one person has been killed every week while trying to cross the city streets. In other words, five pedestrians lost their lives every month in 2013 till November with senior citizens accounting for a majority of the casualties.
The number has gone up despite the police and motor vehicles department (MVD) carrying out regular inspections at various places to reign in speeding and negligent driving.

As per the data available with the police, 59 pedestrians died on the city roads up to November this year compared with 49 deaths in 2012. However, pedestrian deaths were really high in 2011 with 72 citizens losing their lives in road accidents.

This year, in the month of November alone 11 pedestrians died after being hit by vehicles on city roads. According to police, majority of pedestrian deaths occurred on National Highway 47.According to police, despite repeated requests the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has not taken any steps to provide zebra crossings for pedestrians on NH. “With pedestrian deaths increasing, we had requested the NHAI and authorities to provide zebra crossings and erect barricades. But there was no response,” said P P Shams, assistant commissioner, traffic west. He added even the road safety council had asked the NHAI to provide zebra lines and erect barricades on the median.

Strikingly, most of the pedestrians killed in accidents this year were aged 50 and above. As per the data, over 30 pedestrians aged 50 and above were killed on city roads this year so far.

“It’s a matter of concern that most those who died in road accidents are aged people. Accidents happen mainly during evening hours. Lack of sufficient light could be a cause as people may not get a clear view of approaching vehicles,” he said. Meanwhile, the NHAI said that zebra crossings alone would not help to address the issue. “Along with zebra crossings, signalling systems should also be provided for pedestrians to cross,” said C T Abraham, project director, NHAI.

Abraham further said that erecting barricades on the median will not be of much use as they are removed by the public periodically at Vyttila Junction.

“In order to enable pedestrians to safely cross roads, foot overbridges are required. The NHAI has already approved five foot overbridges at important junctions, including Vyttila,” said Abraham, adding that the construction of the bridges was likely to start in five or six months.

Structural flaws on Mumbai-Bangalore NH stretch: Study

December 10, 2013

Express News Service : Pune,

THE 34-km stretch of Mumbai-Bangalore highway in the Pune city limits has seen 110 fatal accidents in the last three years claiming 111 lives. Most of these accidents have taken place at 20 severely accident-prone spots that have been identified by the traffic police in a study. A report has been sent to the National Highways Authorities of India, Pune, which looks after the highway.Out of these 111 victims, 43 were pedestrians, while 50 others were two-wheeler riders. DCP Vishwas Pandhare said, “We have conducted a study on the reasons for these accidents. It is clear that most of them are structural flaws. It has been observed that the NHAI has given contracts of these works to a contractor who has further delegated the work to sub-contractors. So there is no co-ordination in the work. We have sent our findings to NHAI and the contractor.”

Senior inspector Sanjay Bhambure of traffic control branch headed the study. He said, “At most of these spots there are some common flaws. For example there are breaks in the dividers which the two wheeler riders and pedestrians use for crossing the roads. At many spots service road of the highway merges with the main highway. There are no signage boards and flash lights. Protective railing is absent at many places. The trees on dividers have different heights and are absent at some places. There is acute shortage of pedestrian subways and over bridges.”

Pandhare added, “We have sent the report to the NHAI. We have given them a detailed list of structural changes that are must for the prevention of accidents. “The breaks that have been made on the dividers or medians are causing a lot of accidents. As these breaks are not in the NHAI plan, there are no signages. Bikers cross the highways at these breaks and are hit by speeding vehicles coming from both the sides. These breaks need to be sealed.”

Some of the 20 spots identified by the traffic police with the number of deaths that occured there are in last three years are: Katraj New Tunnel (6), Katraj Viaduct (9), Ambegaon Budruk (6), Manajinagar Narhe (10), Warje Bridge (7), Dukkar Khind, Chandani Chowk (2), Bandal Estate (7), HEMRL break (6), Sus Sutarwadi connecting road (7), Balewadi Sports Complex (6), Mula Nadi (4), Wakad Bridge (3), Indira College (3), Sai Petrol Pump (4), Gokul Hotel (3) and Rajmudra Hotel (3).



NHAI set to award over 1,600 km road projects under EPC route

December 10, 2013

Mihir : New Delhi,

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to award road projects of over 1,600 km under the Engineering, Procurement and Contract (EPC) route in the next few months, an indication that momentum is picking up in the sector that has been under pressure in recent times.This is part of the 2,500 km of projects earmarked by the authority for awards this year.

“We have already received bids for five projects covering 502 km and the response is good. The number of bids these projects have received range from as low as 4 to 12. We are satisfied with the response under the EPC,” said a senior NHAI official.

In addition, the NHAI has also called bids for another 225 km and are preparing bids for projects covering 800 km.

The official added that these projects will act as a booster for the slowdown-hit infrastructure companies, who are not showing interest in projects under public-private partnership (PPP).

NHAI had to shift its focus from awarding under EPC after projects offered under PPP mode failed to attract takers. The authority did not find any takers for 20 “viable” projects put up for bids during the current fiscal.

Projects under EPC are virtually risk-free for the contractor, as the government funds the construction. Under this mechanism, the contractor has to quote the cost of constructing or upgrading the road section, and if the bid is accepted, the government funds the project.

The official added that the authority has enough cash to fund these projects under EPC during the current fiscal.

“Money is not an issue during the current fiscal, as these projects would require only 15 per cent of the total project cost during the year. Also, we do not have to acquire a large amount of land because these projects are to be built on the existing alignment and land required will already be in place,” said the official.

With the award of 2,500 km under EPC, NHAI would be able to able to improve its award tally for the current fiscal.

The authority managed to award only 800 km of projects in 2012-13.

During the current fiscal, NHAI has awarded projects covering 859 km so far – a substantial portion under EPC. The road transport ministry has awarded projects covering 463 km.



BIDS RECEIVED for 5 projects covering 502 km

THE average number of bids received range from 4 to 12

BIDS are being called for projects covering 225 km, and preparations are underway for an additional 800 km

The award target for projects under EPC is 2,500 km

859 km of road projects have been awarded in this fiscal



Come clear on Jab-Nagpur road, HC to NHAI, state

December 7, 2013

Manjari Mishra,TNN |

JABALPUR: A division bench of MP high court (MPHC) has issued notices to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the state government seeking explanation over the sorry state of NH 7. The petitioner, Citizen ConsumerForum, said journey between Jabalpur and Nagpur is proving a nightmare for commuters due to patch of almost nonexistent highway. Poor connectivity is proving highly risky for patients to Nagpur, the major health destination in the region.

The petitioner pointed out the highway between Jabalpur and Nagpur, known as a lifeline for many, everyday registers a good traffic of seriously ailing referred to Nagpur for better medical facilities. However, the poor road condition is causing a great deal of inconvenience in this segment. It takes nearly 10 hours to cover 275-km distance against five hours it took about a year ago, the petitioner claimed.

Due to delay and discomfort, the petitioner claimed commuters are now being forced to go via Chhindwara and Narsighpur. A particular patch – Khawasa border – between Jabalpur and Lakkhanadon is particularly bad with rubble and potholes, passing for a road, and journey over it is a big torture, the petitioner pointed out. “One has to take a diversion and go via Narsinghpur to avoid the patch has to log an extra 70 km. A big number of commuters going to Nagpur are in urgent need of medical attention. And the delay at times cost them lives.” the petitioner observed.

The petition highlighted callous attitude of the NHAI authorities and how they preferred to look the other way despite mounting complaints on this front.

The bench, presided over by Chief Justice A M Khanvilkar and Justice KK Lahoti, also ordered all eight PILs which deal with complaints of similar nature and are pending before different benches would henceforth be clubbed together to be heard by a designated bench. Next hearing in the case, the court directed, would take place on December 9.

Truants in highway roll-call

December 6, 2013

- Notable MPs skip Union minister Oscar Fernandes’ invite
Lifeline in limbo: A dilapidated stretch of NH-33 near Tamar

Ranchi,  : Union road transport and highways minister Oscar Fernandes, who invited all 20 MPs of Jharkhand today in New Delhi for a meeting on national highways criss-crossing the state, was greeted by notable absentees, including those from the BJP and JMM, making the attendance sheet politically charged.

Though confirmation of who did and who did not attend the central meeting is trickling in slowly, it is known that BJP MPs Nishikant Dubey, Yashwant Sinha and JMM Rajya Sabha MP Sanjeev Kumar chose not to go to Delhi.

Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay of the Congress and Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress chief Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, however, attended the meeting that seemed to become a miniature UPA affair.

In the absence of a full show, those who went, voiced their grievances before Fernandes. The Union minister, predictably, promised to fast-track the revival of highways criss-crossing the state.

Jharkhand has a national highway length of 1,850km, of which around 500km — including the 330km-long state lifeline NH-33 and parts of NH-2 — is maintained directly by National Highways Association of India (NHAI). State road construction department (national highways wing) looks after the rest.

Ranchi MP Sahay, also former Union minister, told The Telegraph over phone they had stressed on the dilapidated NH-33 and, to a lesser extent, NH-32 stretches.

Chief minister Hemant Soren, on the other hand, told The Telegraph that NH-33 was not being repaired despite prods.

Asked if he held the view that the powers-that-be in Delhi did not want to repair roads for the fear that Hemant and JMM would get credit, the chief minister, faced with a tight-rope walk of coalition compulsions, kept quiet. “Efforts of even Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh went unheard,” he said.

“The road is under NHAI’s jurisdiction otherwise state government would have thought about investing its own resources to maintain them,” the chief minister added.

Not present at the MPs-only show today, Hemant added he had a discussion with Fernandes on the matter and that he would try to meet the Union minister during his Delhi stay. Hemant is in the national capital till tomorrow.

Sahay said they stressed on pitiable parts of Ranchi-Jamshedpur and Hazaribagh-Barhi stretches of NH-33 and Dhanbad-Purulia-Chandil parts of NH-32. “We requested him to ensure their proper maintenance for the areas alongside to reach their full economic potential,” Sahay said.

The Jharkhand delegation also raised the issue of the “much-needed bypasses” in Chandil and Govindpur-Dhanbad (NH-32) and near Ramgarh district town (NH-33).

Sahay reported Union minister Fernandes was “very cooperative”.

An NHAI senior official told The Telegraph already as many as 29 reminders have been given in past six months or so to the concessionaire, Madhucon Projects Limited, to improve the condition of the existing two-lane stretch between Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

“They are doing the repair work in bits and pieces. But the progress is far below satisfaction,” an NHAI engineer said.

Currently, the onus of major repair and maintenance lie with Madhucon, the agency entrusted with the Rs 1,479-crore four-laning work. In April 2011, Ranchi Expressway Limited, a special purpose vehicle of Madhucon, had signed a concession agreement with NHAI for the widening project under BOT-annuity basis, with a semi-annuity of Rs 133.50 crore. The agency was to complete the project by June 2015 and maintain the road for 15 years. But the work could be started only early this year.

On October 20, Hemant even threatened to take legal action against the agency if it failed to improve the stretch within stipulated deadline of November. November came and went.


NHAI May Renew MoU on Vijayawada-Machilipatnam Highway

December 3, 2013



The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will take a decision on renewal of the contract awarded to Hyderabad-based Madhucon Constructions for widening of the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam highway in a couple of weeks. The NHAI and Madhucon Constructions signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2011 for widening of the 65-km national highway from Benz Circle in Vijayawada to Machilipatnam at a cost of `609 crore.

The project has come back into focus as the period of MoU expired in September, 2013 and the contractors expressing their willingness to start the project in view of the fast-tracking of the state bifurcation process.

The Vijayawada-Machilipatnam highway is one of the most important projects in Coastal Andhra as it connects Hyderabad. The existing two-lane national highway is not adequate to meet the increasing traffic demands between Vijayawada and Machilipatnam.

Of late, the road has become accident-prone especially on the stretch between Benz Circle and Kankipadu where vehicular traffic peaks in the morning and evening hours. The NHAI has proposed bypass roads near Vuyyur, Sultan Nagaram near Machilipatnam, Pamarru and Kankipadu. For some administrative and other reasons, the Madhucon Constructions has failed to ground the construction works for the last two years.

One of the important reasons for poor response from Madhucon Constructions is said to be the delay in the construction of Machilipatnam port. The Vijayawada-Guntur region is in the race for the proposed new capital of the residuary Andhra Pradesh.

If the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam Highway is widened, the revenue of toll gate will increase in the coming years which will be beneficial to the contractors. A senior NHAI official said the organisation is likely to renew the contract.

The proposed widening of the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam highway will play a vital role in the development of Krishna district.

The widened road will be of great use for transportation of goods from the central coastal districts and Hyderabad to the proposed Machilipatnam port.


Ministry seeks bigger NHAI board to fast-track decisions

December 3, 2013

Road ministry wants to include the economic affairs secretary in the board of NHAI to help fast-track decision making on road projects

Ragini Verma


IRB urges India to offer up new highways for bidding

December 3, 2013



The helper of a driver rests on top of his parked truck along a busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

(The helper of a driver rests on top of his parked truck along a busy highway on the outskirts of New Delhi June 15, 2012.) 

(Reuters) – The chairman of India’s largest road construction firm IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd (IRBI.NS) urged the government to invite companies to bid to build and operate dozens of new highways, a step regarded as crucial to economic growth.

India sees ramping up the construction of new roads, power plants and ports as crucial to making its businesses more internationally competitive and lifting economic growth out of its worst slowdown in a decade.

But the private sector’s efforts to build new projects have been derailed by problems ranging from coal and gas supply shortages in the power sector to a throttling bureaucracy and a lack of bank funding in the roads sector.

IRB needs to win new government contracts in order to reverse two consecutive falls in quarterly net profit, Chairman Virendra Mhaiskar told Reuters.

Mhaiskar, who until this year was in the Forbes India list of the country’s 100 richest people, said the state-run National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) should offer up for bidding 20-30 highways previously awarded to companies but which failed to take off.

He said in a phone interview he would like to make bids for new projects worth up to 40 billion rupees in the next 3-6 months to prop up an order book that has shrunk to 70 billion rupees from about 84 billion in May.

“Profit growth will entirely depend on new orders,” Mhaiskar said. “Because if they’re going to exhaust our order book pipeline, then the challenge on the profit remains.”

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Angel Broking say IRB is in a strong position to pick up new orders and both have a “buy” rating on IRB’s stock. However, BoA-ML in November cited a slowdown in new project orders as a concern.

IRB, India’s largest road construction firm by market value, posted a 12 per cent drop in net profit to 1.1 billion rupees in the July-Sept quarter, compared with the same period last year. Its net debt to equity ratio is 2.55:1.


India awarded under 2,000 km (1,240 miles) worth of new road construction contracts in the last fiscal year, which ended in March, against a target of 9,500 km (5,900 miles).

“We have seen very little orders getting announced by the NHAI in the last whole of the year. So that remains a prime concern,” Mhaiskar said.

“We understand their views as well, that they feel that there is sluggishness and they may not get a good response. But the point is: one needs to keep the good work going,” he said.

The NHAI chairman did not respond to a request for comment.

The government has pushed a public-private-partnership (PPP) construction model in which developers bid for projects in exchange for sharing some of the revenue with the state – a way of getting investment without emptying the public purse.

Besides delay in awarding government projects, an economic slowdown and various mining bans in India mean there are fewer cars and trucks than there might have been on the roads to pay tolls – eating into companies’ revenues.

Two of India’s best known infrastructure companies, GMR (GMRI.NS) and GVK (GVKP.NS), have moved to exit high-profile road projects. In response, the government is working on a formula to ease the payments that companies have to pay to the state in exchange for operating highways.

Recent projects have been designed mainly on a model known as “build-operate-transfer” (BOT), where companies build and own highways for a fixed period before handing them over to the government.

“These days bankers have become more cautious in lending to road BOT projects. They want 80 percent of the land in possession before the financial closure of the project could be achieved,” said Viral Shah, an analyst at Angel Broking. (Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Pravin Char)



Bridge Opening Still on Waiting List

November 29, 2013

By Express News Service – KOCHI


The Goshree bridge remains closed even after the completion of the construction work | Mithun Vinod

The Goshree bridge remains closed even after the completion of the construction work | Mithun Vinod

The opening of the new bridge constructed parallel to the second Goshree Bridge, connecting Bolgatty and Vallarpadam, is likely to be delayed further with the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI) planning to extend its length.

According to officials of Soma Construction, the company entrusted with the work, the NHAI has decided to introduce a slight change in the structure of the bridge by extending its length.

“We have been told that there would be an extension, but we are yet to receive the final design which is expected to be delivered to us in December,” said Soma officials.

The authorities had plans to open the bridge for traffic by September 2012. Taking a significant step towards that end, a month-long trial run was flagged off, with only container carriers permitted to ply over it.

The bridge was constructed as part of the four-lane highway connecting the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) to Kalamassery.

Once the bridge is opened for traffic, the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd can start work on the elevation and extension of the existing Goshree Bridge and convert it into a rail overbridge.

At present, there is a level-cross at the end  of the bridge at Vallarpadam, to enable the movement of trains carrying containers to the ICTT. Traffic on the existing bridge has to be diverted to the new bridge to resume the extension work.

The 17.2-km-long road (NH 47 C), starting from Kalamassery connects the ICTT to NH 17 and NH 47. Though the bridge is ready, teh construction of two lanes of the highway will be completed only by May 2014, sources said.  The two-lane road, which has been opened for traffic, has to be elevated a little more, the official said. It was commissioned considering the emergency situation prevailing at the time of ICTT’s commissioning in February 2011.

“Though the delay in opening the bridge will not affect the operations at the ICTT directly, the residents of Vallarpadam and people of Vypeen will have to bear the brunt due to the frequent closure of the railway gate caused by the increased  number train services to ICTT. It would be good for the islanders, if the construction is completed as early as possible,” said officials of DP World Cochin which operates the ICTT.



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