Bengaluru-Chennai E-way update

As promised last year, the Centre has set the ball rolling for the 265-km six-lane expressway between Bengaluru and Chennai. The National Highways Authority of India has floated tenders for construction of the project’s first phase covering about 10% of the total distance at an estimated cost of Rs.1,119 crore.

Once the entire stretch is ready — it may take more than two years for all five phases to be complete — travel time between the two cities will reduce to less than four hours as the road is designed to allow vehicles to cruise at 120 kmph. Now, it takes at least six to seven hours to reach Chennai by car and vice-versa.

The proposed expressway is an ambitious tollway project, which Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari had in April 2017 promised to start by early 2018. According to the tender invitation, NHAI is looking for contractors to construct a six-lane expressway spanning 26.4km (from Bengaluru to Malur in Kolar) under Phase I.

The plan is to execute the project in five phases: Bengaluru to Kolar; Kolar to Palamaner; Palamaner to Chittoor; Chittoor to Kanchipuram and Kanchipuram to Chennai. NHAI, sources said, is planning to invite simultaneous tenders for the other stretches too, which is expected to be done shortly.

For the Bengaluru to Kolar stretch, the last date for submission of bids is March 15. The contractor will get two years to complete the project and will be required to maintain it for four years.

NHAI plans to implement the project on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. It’s part of the Centre’s larger expressway plan, which will see a 1000-km network across the country.

The project will facilitate high-speed travel via the 90-metre wide expressway, which will run parallel to the existing NH4. Presently, the two cities are connected by two highways: A 372-km highway via Krishnagiri and Ranipet and the second one that runs for 335-km via Kolar, Chittoor, Ranipet and Kanchipuram.

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