Bhanu P Lohumi
Shimla, July 13
Finally, the tender for the Kaithlighat-Dhalli section of the Parwanoo-Shimla four-lane project to be constructed at a cost of Rs 3,914.77 crores has been awarded. Work would begin in January 2023 and be completed in three years. The new highway will bypass Shimla and reduce the distance between Kaithlighat and Dhalli from 40.1 km to 28.4 km.
The project was divided into two sections. The Kaithlighat- Shakral section (17.46 km) to be constructed at a cost of Rs 1844.77 crore has been awarded to SP Singla Const-Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (Consortium) while the Shakral- Dhalli section (10.98 km) costing Rs 2070 crore has been donated to Gawar Construction, said AS Khural, Project Manager, Shimla.
No less than 10 bids were received for the two sections. The tunnel experience was made compulsory keeping in mind that tunnels would be built because Shimla has old and heritage buildings and real-time monitoring of the buildings would be carried out, NHAI sources said.
Two twin-tube tunnels and 20 bridges will be built in the first section (Kaithlighat-Shakral) for which deforestation is almost complete. The second section (Shakral-Dhalli) will have three tunnels and seven bridges including the additional 580 meter cable bridge which will be constructed 240 meters above ground level at a cost of Rs 300 crore.
Earlier, NHAI terminated Chetak contractor’s contract for construction of Kaithlighat-Dhalli section due to late progress as barely 2% of works were executed against a target of 30% due to delay in construction. availability of land, deforestation and removal of trees and other reasons.
The new tender process has been extended six times. The NHAI attributed the delay to administrative and technical reasons other than deforestation and land acquisition. The authority maintained that the dates were extended before the last date as new standards were introduced.