|Work on reconstructing the remaining 13-km stretch of Shiradi Ghat with concrete is likely to commence in December/January, two years after it was stopped.|
Package 1 of reconstruction of the 13-km stretch of the ghat section was completed in 2015 at a cost of about ₹ 70 crore. Though contract for Package 2 was awarded in November 2015, the government had to cancel it in January this year owing to the contractor’s failure to commence work.
Sources in the National Highways Division of State Public Works Department (PWD) told The Hindu that three bidders had participated in the tender for Package 2 after the original contract was cancelled.
Of them, only two qualified technically, meeting the condition of having own machinery and equipment. This condition was put after having learnt lessons from the earlier incident where the contractor did not have own machinery thereby delaying the project.
The department has now sought clearance from the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to issue Letter of Intent (LoI) to the lowest bidder, who quoted ₹ 61.57 crore, to execute the project. Ocean Constructions, which had executed Package 1 of Shiradi Ghat reconstruction, has emerged the lowest bidder.
Sources said the Union Ministry’s clearance was sought last week and approval is expected this month after which the PWD would issue LoI to the contractor.
Having experience in executing Package 1, the contractor would be able to complete the project within a short period, the sources said. The contractor has commenced preparations, including gathering material required for construction.
The road, after reconstruction, would have a uniform width of 8.5 m and thickness of 45 cm.
The earlier contractor had executed some work for reconstruction, including extending the width of 36 culverts out of the 74 to a width of 8.5 m.
Laying the 13-km stretch of concrete road between Kempu Hole Guest House and Adda Hole near Gundya at a cost of ₹ 85 crore and re-laying the 21-km bitumen road between Gulagale and Heggadde at a cost of ₹ 33 crore formed Package 2 that was cancelled in January 2015.
At present, the stretch of NH 75 from Gundya to Kempu Hole Guest House is almost in a battered state affecting smooth vehicular movement. Though the PWD had filled potholes and craters before the monsoon, continuous rain has affected the road surface.