Punjab on fast lane with first inter-state expressway

Written by Charanjit Ahuja | Chandigarh, Jun 29 | Updated: Jul 1 2008, 03:19am hrs
The Punjab government has roped in Louis Berger, a US-based space consultant to make a preliminary project report on developing a 60 km expressway between Lalru in Punjab and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. Punjab Infrastructure and Development Board (PIDB) will be giving shape to Punjabs first inter-state express highway that will take two years to complete.

Gurpartap Singh Mann, chief general manager of PIDB told FE in his office, It was time for people in Punjab to fasten their seat belts and zoom at top speed of 120 km on a 10 lane expressway that will connect Lalru to Baddi, bypassing Haryana. He said the entire route will be fenced to keep stray animals out to ensure high speed.

Mann disclosed that Louis Berger is already in the process of preparing the preliminary project report and plan for land acquisition. He said, Once technical study report is submitted by the consultants, the process of land acquisition and calling of bids will commence. The project cost without land will be about Rs 1,500 crore and if land component was included it will be around Rs 2,500 crore.

The consultants were likely to submit technical report by next month and then global tenders are likely to be floated. The CGM said the expressway will cater to NRI population too as an International Airport was coming up at Chandigarh shortly and the proposed expressway will provide a link to Phagwara belt, a 62-km stretch. He said to start with, the project envisages a six-lane road that will gradually add four more lanes with two service roads on either side and subways to divert local traffic at intersections of towns and villages.

Mann told FE that the entire belt from Lalru to Baddi is infested with industries as such the proposed expressway will be a major boost to industrialisation in Punjab. In addition, the Punjab government is planning to upgrade road corridors including Balachaur-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasua (105 km), Patiala-Samana-Patra (48.6 km), Hoshiarpur-Tanda (27.9 km), Moga-Baghapurana-Kotkapura (47.7 km), Kiratpur Sahib-Anandpur Sahib-Nangal-Una (35.7 km), Patiala-Malerkotla (60.2 km), Fazilka-Ferozepur (84.5 km), Dakha-Raikot-Barnala (57.9 km, Bhawanigarh-Nabha-Gobindgarh (55.5 km), Ropar-Phagwara (78 km) and Jagraon-Nakodar (37 km).

He informed that in the second phase the Punjab government will take up five new road corridors on BOT basis including Batala-Beas road corridor (37.20 km), Amritsar-Tanda (17.89 km), Nakodar-Kartarpur (48.92 km), Hoshiarpur-Phagwara (35.5 km) and Sirhind-Morinda-Ropar Road Corridor (43.2 km). Total cost on these road corridors has been pegged at Rs 250 crore.