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Semi Ring road project running in circles

Completion of the 43-km semi ring road project from Thuvakudi to Jeeyapuram by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) may well take a few years more, according to officials.

Tender formalities for completing work on Thuvakudi-Panchapur segment, which is part of Tiruchi-Karaikudi Road widening project, will be over only after elections.
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The highway project, which will connect Tiruchi with Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Madurai and Dindigul, not only has a bearing on the economic and industrial progress of Tiruchi district, but will also provide a lasting solution to the ever-growing traffic congestion.

The ring road will be of immense utility to industrial estates in Thuvakudi and Mathur, and infuse purpose into the shifting of the Central Vegetable Market for wholesale trade to Kallikudi along Tiruchi-Madurai Highway from the highly-congested Gandhi Market in the city, according to industrialists.

Also, the need for hundreds of heavy vehicles to enter the city will be obviated.

According to a senior NHAI official, a fresh tender has been necessitated due to the purported failure of the earlier contractor to fulfil the contract obligations in entirety.

The incomplete works encompass laying of about a km of road from Asoor in between agricultural fields, blacktopping a further stretch of three to four km, overbridge work near Mathur, and a major bridge and ROB across the railway track between Mathur and Panchapur. The tender envisages making the road operational in 2020.

Work on the second segment of the project connecting Panchapur with Jeeyapuram is also expected to resume on the revised alignment in the next few months. The earlier plan to lay the road across irrigation tanks was halted by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court following petitions submitted by farmers’ organisations opposing construction of road across irrigation tanks.

Earlier this year, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had brushed off the need for a fresh environment clearance for the revised alignment. But the case is still pending in the court, and the tender process can be initiated only after NHAI submits a status report.

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