THE MUCH-AWAITED widening of the Kharar-Morinda stretch on the Mohali-Ludhiana highway has picked up pace. The felling of trees along the highway commenced this week. The stretch that witnesses extremely heavy traffic throughout the day as it connects Chandigarh and Mohali with major cities of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh shall be widened at a cost of Rs 2,070 crore. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has announced completion of the project within two years. More than 3,000 trees shall be axed on the Kharar-Morinda stretch for widening of the highway. According to an NHAI official, the total length of the road to be widened from Kharar-Ludhiana is 76 km. Kharar-Morinda is the stretch to begin with.
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“The road shall be constructed in two phases. The first phase shall be completed on a 54-km-long stretch that shall be six-lane. It will connect with the main flyover coming up on National Highway-21 on Kharar-Kurali stretch. The construction work of the flyover has already begun,” the NHAI official told Chandigarh Newsline. The remaining 22-km stretch to be taken up in the second phase shall be a four-lane highway.
The entire 76-km stretch shall have eight flyovers, two bypasses, including one near Morinda, six underpasses, 253 minor junctions and nine major junctions. A service lane shall also be constructed on the 46-km stretch.
Aslam Khan, a representative of Ashoka Construction Limited, the company that is constructing the highway, said, “We have started the work of axing the trees from Kharar to Morinda stretch. The electricity poles were also removed and are being relocated along the highway so that the visibility on the highway is not affected during night and early morning hours. The state government has already acquired 383.2 hectares of land for the road widening project. A bypass shall be constructed near Samrala that will be go straight up to Ludhiana to ease out the volume of heavy traffic on the Samrala-Ludhiana stretch.”
The road is considered one of the most accident-prone areas in the district with an average of one major road accident being reported almost on a daily basis. Recently, four persons were killed in an accident on the same road near Chandigarh University, Gharuan. Former Punjab cabinet minister and Akali stalwart Captain Kanwaljeet Singh was killed on the same road at Khanpur chowk near Kharar in 2009.