Worn out stretches of the carriageway between KIOCL Junction and Kulur bridge hinder smooth traffic flow
The stretch of National Highway 66 between Baikampady and Kulur, a part of New Mangalore Port Connectivity Project that witnesses voluminous traffic, is again filled with craters and potholes as the monsoon rain this season has washed away the road which was maintained spending crores of rupees.
The Kulur Bridge stretch on the Udupi-Mangaluru carriageway is particularly the most affected one with the bitumen surface almost wearing out resulting in formation of large craters. The completely worn-out stretch at KIOCL Junction, a large speed breaker erected just before the Old Kulur Bridge and a rough patch just after the bridge have been affecting smooth vehicular movement. During the morning and evening peak hours, vehicles pile up as far as MCF due to slow moving vehicles on this particular stretch.
The remaining stretches of both the carriageways between Kulur and Baikampady are dotted with potholes and craters at several places threatening road users. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which maintains the Port Connectivity Project between BC Road-Nanthoor Junction (NH 75) and Nanthoor-Surathkal (NH 66), has spent around ₹14 crore for the upkeep of the stretch since 2019.
Mahesh Krishna, who regularly drives from Udupi to Mangaluru for work, wondered about the rationale behind the NHAI collecting hefty toll at its NITK-Surathkal toll plaza. “I have to pay ₹50 one-way for my car for a distance of 17 km and now, there is no justification for this hefty toll fee,” Mr. Krishna said. It has become an annual affair; every monsoon the stretch gets damaged and thereafter, it is repaired. Motorists are able to drive or ride on good roads only for about three-four months, he added.
While repairing the road, the NHAI did not address water-logging issues at many places resulting in extensive damage to the surface, said Srikanth Raja, a resident of Baikampady. While the road geometry itself appears faulty and no corrections have been made to address those faults, the shoulder drains too are not regularly cleaned for the smooth flow of rainwater, he said.
Mr. Raja added that the authority filled potholes with bitumen mix recently insome places. Except offering a bumpy ride or drive, the filling has not helped motorists in any way, he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M.A. Nataraj said that the traffic police will ask the NHAI to repair the road immediately to facilitate smooth traffic flow.
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