The state Works Department is planning to float the tender for construction of 656 km Rourkela-Jagdalpur Biju Expressway in the second half of October, after taking into account the ongoing projects in the same route.
“As field survey and identification of projects already awarded for the same route will take at least a month to complete, we hope to float the tender for first phase of construction in October, possibly after Durga Puja holidays,” said a government official involved in the process.
Durga Puja holidays end in the first week of October.
Last week, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had launched the Biju Expressway project, an economic corridor in western Odisha to be constructed with an estimated expenditure of Rs 3,200 crore. The corridor will pass through four backwards districts and four western Odisha districts, connecting Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh with industrial town Rourkela.
The corridor is aimed at connecting border towns like Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Nuapada, Paikamal, Padampur, Sohella, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundagarah and Rourkela.
In the first phase, 254 km of the corridor would be converted into four lanes and the rest 402 km widened to two lanes at a cost of Rs 1,471 crore. In the second phase, 258 km would be made four lanes at a cost of Rs 1,729 crore.
Though the Expressway project is 656-km long, widening of road is already going in the same route on 234 km stretch by various departments, out of 254 km stretch identified in the first phase expansion.
For example, L&T has been engaged with the task of four-laning of road from Rourkela to Sambalpur (160km) through public private partnership (PPP) mode and work for four-laning of Sambalpur to Sohella road via Bargarh (74km) is being funded by Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Hence, the first phase construction would involve primarily two-laning of 402 km road in western Odisha, the source added.
Phase-I of the project is expected to be completed by May 2017 while second phase is scheduled for completion by May 2020.
Both the state and the Centre would bear the cost of the project, estimated at Rs 3,200 crore. For the Rourkela-Sambalpur road widening project, the state government will spend Rs 256 crore.
Currently it requires 13 hours to travel from Jagdalpur to Rourkela and after completion of the project, it is estimated that the distance could be covered in six hours only.