A labourer engaged in the NH 66 construction work near Pantheerankavu, Kozhikode | Photo: Sajan V Nambiar
Kozhikode: Workers and contractors are working diligently to meet the deadline for National Highway 66 expansion by 2024. Progress on the stretch from Ramanattukara, which marks the district border, to Moodadi has been mixed. While work progresses rapidly in some areas, it is relatively slow in others.
The national highway witnesses a steady flow of vehicles along most sections, except for a few spots between Ramanatukara and Pantheerankavu. The final stages of construction are underway, with the installation of pillars for the second flyover commencing in Azhinjilam. The Ramanattukara flyover requires three more girders. Additionally, the median divider on the main road until Azhinjilam has been completed. Workers involved in the national highway project can be seen residing in makeshift shelters alongside the road between Ramanatukara and Moodadi.
Several sections of the main road have already been opened, and the service roads have been fully constructed. Flyover construction is also in progress. Roadside residents and travellers believe that the traffic culture will change significantly once the six-lane NH becomes operational. Officials predict that travel time from Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram will be significantly reduced once the road is open to traffic.
In the Moodadi region, where the road runs through fields, work is progressing rapidly. Tarring has been completed at various locations in this area. Local children have been spotted playing cricket on the newly tarred roads. Construction of a tunnel under the Vengeri side is currently underway.
Flyover construction is also underway in several areas, including Pantheerankavu, Thondayad, Palazhi, Pooladikunnu, and Vengalam.
Tarring work on the Ramanattukara side has also been completed. Although authorities originally aimed to complete the 68.4 km NH passing through the district by 2024, officials now acknowledge that it may not be feasible to meet that timeline.
The National Highway development in the district involves two stretches: a 40 km section from Azhiyur to Vengalam and a 28.4 km section from Vengalam to Ramanatukara. The 2.2 km stretch between Azhiyur and Vengalam from Paloli bridge to Mooradu bridge has been designated as a separate section of work since it began earlier.