The Central government said a tunnel in the Shiradi Ghat section, which connects Mangaluru with Bengaluru, may not be viable.

In a reply to Member of Parliament from Dakshina Kananda Nalin Kumar Kateel in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said: “Construction of tunnels in Shiradi Ghat section involves huge investments as well as difficulties in execution of work and may not be viable.”

To ease traffic immediately, it was decided to develop the existing two-lane road into four-lane with improvement in the geometrics by providing retaining structures. Accordingly, a DPR (detailed project report) consultant has been engaged by NHAI for the upgradation, the Minister said.

Trade and industry bodies in coastal Karnataka have been asking for the tunnel projects to improve connectivity between New Mangalore Port and the hinterland.

In a letter to the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways in 2021, the then president of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shashidhar Pai Maroor, had stated that the 23.6-km Shiradi ghat tunnel on NH-75 would significantly reduce travel time and boost movement of goods.

At a function in Mangaluru in February, Gadkari had said that an Austrian agency had done a study on the six-lane tunnel project. Experts from his ministry had also conducted a study on the project, which was estimated at ₹14,000 crore, he said.