Kullu, March 22
About 34-km stretch from the Pandoh bypass to Takoli, the most challenging part of the four-laning work on the Kiratpur-Manali national highway (NH-3), is nearing completion, while the Takoli-Kullu road stretch is already functional.
The Pandoh bypass-Takoli project includes the construction of 10 tunnels, one elevated viaduct, three major bridges, 10 minor bridges and double-laning of the 13-km highway stretch with slope protection, culverts, retaining walls, drainage and many other features.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has opened three tunnels out of five that have been completed ahead of Hanogi. An official of the contractor company of the NHAI said around 95 per cent of the work had been accomplished and the highway beyond Hanogi would be thrown open by April.
This stretch was one of the most dangerous sections of the NH-21 between Chandigarh and Manali. Pandoh (15 km from Mandi) to Aut is a landslide-prone area. To ensure the safety of motorists on this section, 10 tunnels were planned.
The work from Mandi to Aut is challenging and the cutting of hills along the banks of the Beas is a daunting task. The construction of 10 tunnels was also a big challenge.
Aut already has a three-km-long double-lane tunnel and the entire traffic on way to Kullu-Manali passes through that tunnel. Another 2.9-km-long tunnel has been constructed alongside it to four-lane the road. The construction of most of the tunnels has been completed. However, an additional tunnel has been now proposed between Pandoh and Hanogi.
The flyover near Aut is ready. The 30-km four-lane stretch from Aut to Kullu is also ready. The construction of Pandoh-Aut road will be completed soon and the journey of 55 km from Pandoh to Kullu will become comfortable in the coming days. The road from Kullu to Manali is already good.
The travel distance between Chandigarh and Manali will reduce by around 60 km and the travel time cut down by over two hours after the completion of the project. The distance from Chandigarh to
Manali is currently around 320 km and it will be reduced to about 260 km. At present, it takes around nine hours to travel from Chandigarh to Manali. The time will be cut down to seven hours after the completion of the project.
An NHAI official said the Pandoh-Aut four-laning would be completed soon. Of the five tunnels from Hanogi to Takoli, three had been opened for traffic. The four-laning work from Nerchowk to Pandoh would be completed by June, he added.
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