Kerala Express Highway Project Put On GIM Showcase

Thiruvananthapuram, October 17: | Updated: Oct 18 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Rs 6000-crore Express Highway project, proposing to capsulise North-South Kerala travelling time to 6 hours, will be showcased in the state's Global Investment Meet (GIM) in January. The Vision Document on the motorway has been handed over to the GIM consultants PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Of the five segments into which the Kasargod-Thiruvananthapuram mega project has been phased, it is the Trissur-Kochi segment that may get the most bidders, according to Kerala public works minister Dr M K Muneer. The Economic Internal Return Rate (EIRR) is estimated the highest in this segment. Dr Muneer's dream-project spans a gestation period of 10-15 years.

Several other projects for construction of new roads would be placed before the GIM to attract private participation, he said.

"We have, however, worked it out in such a way that future add-on facilities like bullet train transport could be accommodated," the minister told reporters here on Thursday. The high-speed, access-controlled motorway envisages skips turnings, steep ascents and descents and construction of overbridges or underpasses at every 1.5 km stretch.

The state public works department will take up 272 new projects that included construction of roads and bridges during current financial year with a total outlay of Rs 180 crore, he said. For this, the government would dip into the Rs 1200 crore World Bank loan.

With rubberised bitmumen roads getting legitimisation by Centre also, the state was fully resorting to bitumen macadam and asphlatic concrete for maintenance. This costs Rs 35 lakhs per km, ten per cent higher initial investment than the ordinary maintenence.

"However, the road durability compensates for the slightly higher initial outlay," Dr Muneer said. Karnataka and Andhra model performance-linked maintenence contract system has been finalised for the future maintenance of these roads, he said.