Deadline revised several times
The work to widen the 22.91-km stretch on the Kalka-Shimla highway was assigned to AIREF Engineers by the NHAI in December 2018. It was supposed to be completed by June 2022, but since some major works, including the construction of a flyover at Chambaghat and tunnel near Kandaghat, were not completed, its deadline was revised several times.
Nearly 80 per cent of the work has been completed. The construction of the flyover is likely to be finished by the year-end as key works like laying of a 54-m slab there are underway.
The construction of the tunnel has resumed after the work was halted for nearly a year. Since its length has been increased by 207m, the process to seek requisite approvals by the conciliation committee of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was completed recently.
"The construction of the tunnel near Kandaghat will take around 13 months to complete. The remaining work to four-lane the Solan-Kaithlighat section of the NH-5 is slated to be completed by the year-end, which was its extended deadline," NHAI Project Director Anand Dahiya said.
He said the issues like the delay in securing forest clearance of 0.9 hectares on the Chail road in Kandaghat, where the flyover has to be constructed, contributed to the delay in the work. Other works like constructing reinforced walls below a resort and a private university near Waknaghat are also underway and would be completed by the end of December.
The work to widen the 22.91-km stretch on the Kalka-Shimla highway was assigned to the AIREF Engineers by the NHAI in December 2018. It was supposed to be completed by June 2022, but since some major works, including the construction of flyover and tunnel, were not completed, its deadline was revised several times.
Ownership dispute between the Forest Department and some locals at Kaithlighat resulted in delayed acquisition of a chunk of land. Similarly, ownership disputes at Kandaghat delayed the construction of the tunnel.
This is the third phase of the National Highway Development Project on the Kalka-Shimla highway, which when completed, will reduce the journey time significantly. The highway is being constructed on the engineering, procurement and construction mode.
The four-laning of the previous 39-km stretch on the Parwanoo-Solan portion was completed after 27 additional months. Though both the projects were supposed to be completed within 30 months, they could not meet the deadline.