Updated: January 28, 2021 3:55:41 pm
A four-decade-old promise came to fruition on Thursday when the 6.8 km-long Alappuzha bypass on NH 66 in Kerala was thrown open to the public.
The two-lane bypass, which will allow commuters travelling from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram to skirt the town of Alappuzha on their journey, was jointly inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari through video-conferencing.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Union MoS VK Singh and V Muraleedharan, state PWD minister G Sudhakaran, finance minister TM Thomas Isaac and Alappuzha MP AM Ariff were present at the function.
The foundation stone of the project was laid as early as 1980, but due to financial and land constraints, the construction got delayed indefinitely. Successive governments, both at the state and central level, through the 90s and 2000s took little interest in reviving the project even though it was highly significant for both people of Alappuzha town as well as those travelling from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram.
Construction finally took off in 2005 on the understanding that both the Centre and the state would allocate equal shares for funding the project. Though the deadline was fixed at September 2017, acquiring permission from the Railways for construction railway overbridges at Malikamukku and Kuthirapanthi as well as other reasons contributed to the project getting further delayed.
The 6.8 km-bypass connecting Kommady in the north to Kalarcode in the south and passing through the western side of NH 66 was built at a cost of Rs 348 crores. The state government spent an additional Rs 25 crores on installing streetlights and development of key junctions.
An interesting feature of the bypass is that 3.2 km-section of the 6.8 km-long stretch has been built in the form of an elevated highway including a flyover that runs parallel to the Alappuzha beach giving commuters a fascinating view of the Arabian Sea. Those travelling at dawn and dusk will have the pleasure of getting a direct view of sunrise and sunset over the sea.
The inauguration function of the bypass had attracted controversy after the names of Isaac and current MP Ariff were not included by the Centre. After the state protested, they were invited to the function.
The Congress meanwhile took out a protest march in Alappuzha Thursday against the exclusion of KC Venugopal, the party’s former MP from the constituency.
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