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Controversy Surrounds Nitin Gadkari’s Plan to Raise Highway Bridges, ET Infra


KOLHAPUR: Union highways minister Nitin Gadkari wants the plan to use concrete bases to elevate the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway’s Kolhapur-Kagal stretch scrapped. Instead, he has asked the officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to erect pillars so that the Panchaganga flood waters can pass through easily, said district guardian minister Hasan Mushrif.

Activists and experts had taken strong objection to the six-laning works on the Kagal-Satara stretch of the highway, especially the section that passed along Kolhapur city. The objection mainly was to authorities planning concrete bases to elevate the bridges between Shiroli and the Panchaganga river at the entrance of Kolhapur city. The officials had said tunnel boxes (culvert boxes) would be constructed on concrete bases to let the floodwater pass. However, experience from earlier culvert boxes has shown that rather than allowing flow of water, the boxes tend to cause waterlogging even after the flood has receded.

Mushrif, speaking in Kolhapur on Saturday, said: “I talked to Gadkari. I told him that the issue had been repeatedly raised by public representatives even before the six-laning work started. He agreed to our concerns and asked the central and state officials of the NHAI to ensure the elevation of the bridges is done on pillars.”

Mushrif said the elevation of bridges on pillars will also ensure that the national highway is not shut due to flood water entering the road. The water will pass under the bridges and traffic on the national highway will continue uninterrupted.

During the floods in 2019 and 2021, the highway stretch passing along Kolhapur city was waterlogged and the traffic had to be stopped for multiple days. It severely hampered supply of essentials to the flooded parts of Kolhapur district and city.

Local NHAI officials said they have got the orders to make the necessary changes.

  • Published On Dec 4, 2023 at 02:59 PM IST

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