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One of twin tunnels at Kuthiran on Thrissur-Palakkad NH stretch opened for traffic

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on August 01, 2021

The Kuthiran tunnels, which is in the final stage of completion, as the state government plans to open at least one tunnel of the twin-tube tunnel in August this year. A scene from Palakkad side   -  File photo: The Hindu

The opening of one tunnel has marked the fulfilment of a long-pending vision of Kerala in its transport infrastructure.

One of the twin tunnels at Kuthiran on the Thrissur-Palakkad national highway in Kerala was opened for traffic on Saturday.

The union minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced its opening on Twitter even though the official inauguration was expected on August 1. “This is the first road tunnel in the State and will drastically improve connectivity to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The 1.6 km is designed through the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary,” the Minister tweeted.

The opening of one tunnel has marked the fulfilment of a long-pending vision of Kerala in its transport infrastructure. The inauguration has given a sigh of relief to commuters because of the traffic block and the long wait on the national highway at Kuthiran.

The construction of two tunnels – each 964 metre long – at Kuthiran was to reduce the acute traffic block on this NH stretch. Kuthiran is a mountainous terrain on the Mannuthy-Wadakkanchery stretch of the Thrissur-Palakkad highway and is accident prone.

Traffic blocks are a regular phenomenon on this stretch in the event of accidents. Though the Mannuthy-Wadakkanchery six-lane work started in 2010, the tunnel work started only in 2016. The work was delayed for various reasons in different stages. The subcontractor who completed a major part of the tunnel withdrew from the project alleging that they were not paid by the main contractor.

The Kerala High Court has also intervenedmany times for the completion of the project. The tunnel will reduce the running time from Coimbatore to Kochi considerably.

According to officials, a formal inaugural ceremony will be held after finishing both the tunnels. The toll collection will be started only after completing the second tunnel. Around 70 per cent of the second tunnel has been completed. The State government will ensure constant follow-up and monitoring to ensure the timely opening of the second tunnel at Kuthiran, the officials said.

Published on August 01, 2021

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