In a review meeting held with the officers of National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI), Vikramaditya Singh, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister, said that due to incessant rains in the state for the last few days, there has been damage of crores to the roads including the National Highways (NH) in the State.
The Government is making concerted efforts to reopen all the closed roads and clear the National Highways as soon as possible. “I have spoken to the Union Road Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari and have urged him for the time bound restoration of NH’s. On the request of the government, NHAI Secretary, Manoj Kumar is on a State visit to take stock of the situation and assess the damages to NHs.
A detailed discussion was held on the damages caused to the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane as National Highway Authority has assessed maximum damage on this NH between Raison and Manali. The work of opening this route for all types of vehicles is going on war footing, said the Minister.
Vikramaditya said that the water in Beas River has crossed all the previous danger marks and NHAI should consider raising the height of the National Highway in this area so that such incidents can be avoided in future. The NHAI has assured to conduct a detailed study in collaboration with IIT Rourkee which is also collaborating in the repair of Chakki bridge. The experts from IIT Rourkee have been asked to visit the site and suggest measures for the restoration of Kullu-Manali section.
The Minister also directed to arrange for an alternative route on the Pinjore-Baddi-Nalagarh highway besides immediate repair of Maddanwala bridge. At present single lane movement of vehicles is being allowed on this route.
The Chakki bridge on Pathankot-Mandi National Highway was also discussed in the meeting. The Public Works Minister instructed to take necessary steps to repair the bridge in a time bound manner. Apart from this, the Authority also assured to provide necessary funds for the repair and strengthening of the Bailey bridge near Ghandal on the Shimla-Mataur road.
The Minister said that about 1318 roads have been blocked due to landslides in the state. About 600 JCBs, 20 dozers, 169 tippers and tractors have been deployed by the department to restore these roads. He said that a target has been set to open about 1050 of these roads by 12th July 2023.
He also urged the Central Government to provide liberal financial assistance to the state for repair of national highways etc.
Secretary NHAI assured that efforts would be made to restore traffic between Kullu and Manali on the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane road in the next 48 hours. For this, deployment of necessary men and machinery has been ensured. All possible efforts are also being made to open other national highways.
Engineer-in-Chief Public Works Department Ajay Gupta, Regional Officer of National Highways Authority of India Abdul Basit and other senior officers were present in the meeting.