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Old 21st January 2013, 21:03   #4771
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Final set of snaps: Sorry for posting too many snaps but I thought of sharing a clear pic or the entire stretch. Please excuse me for poor quality cellphone snaps.
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Old 21st January 2013, 21:21   #4772
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Kanakpura-Satyamangalam-Coimbatore route is scenic with very little traffic. Of course, the road surface is in great shape with no tolls. The route is ideal for those who drive at 80-100 kmph.

Hosur-Salem-Coimbatore 4 lane route is ideal for high speeds.

Regarding Edappadi-Omallur route, it is scenic, two lane, shorter by few kms and saves two tolls. Ideal for off peak hours, not recommended for anyone in a hurry.
I did the Salem-Bangalore stretch on Thursday night and my feeling was that even with the four-laning it doesn't gain you any time. In fact it took me about 3 hrs 20 minutes to cover the 197 kms from Salem to Silkboard junction. The main reasons for the slow progress were : a) about 35 minutes spent in toll gates (even at 1 AM in the night, the Thoppur toll took 15+ minutes !!) b) The Thoppur ghats where slow trucks occupy the entire stretch of the road trying to overtake each other at 20 kmph, and c) the diversions on the Krishnagiri-Hosur stretch.

It's about a year since I did this stretch on NH7 (I've always preferred the NH209 route when travelling to Cochin). I generally cover the distance from Bangalore (near Banashankari) to Karumathampatti on NH47 in 4 hours 45 minutes inclusive of 1 break of about 10-15 minutes. I'm not sure if I'd be able to cover the Salem-Karumathampatti stretch in 1 hr 25 minutes to match the same timings if I were to travel on the NH7-47 combination.

So in my opinion that combination being "fast" is really a fallacy. You end up paying about 300 Rs in tolls, take more time, and encounter higher stress levels driving in much heavier traffic. So is it really worth it ?? I'm not too sure..

P.S : I'd have never taken that route if I were driving directly from Cochin to Bangalore - This time I was driving from Trivandrum and so NH7 was the only reasonable option.

P.S2 : I did aother big mistake of trying out the Trivandrum-Kulathupuzha-Rajapalayam-Thirumangalam route in order to avoid the Trivandrum-Nagercoil stretch. Turned out to be a big mistake - I ended up taking about 12.5 hours for the whole trip.. :(

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Final set of snaps: Sorry for posting too many snaps but I thought of sharing a clear pic or the entire stretch. Please excuse me for poor quality cellphone snaps.
Thanks for the pics - Coolclouds.. No need to apologize for "poor quality" - the quality of pictures seem excellent - so much so that it is difficult to believe that these were taken with a cellphone !!

Last edited by kala : 21st January 2013 at 21:26. Reason: Add response to coolclouds
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Old 21st January 2013, 21:31   #4773
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Final set of snaps: Sorry for posting too many snaps but I thought of sharing a clear pic or the entire stretch. Please excuse me for poor quality cellphone snaps.
Moral of the story, don't attempt driving in the dark on this road - The potholes can break your car especially if you are blinded by oncoming high beam headlights.
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Old 21st January 2013, 21:38   #4774
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Moral of the story, don't attempt driving in the dark on this road - The potholes can break your car especially if you are blinded by oncoming high beam headlights.
Rightly said!

Suitable for daylight drive else need to be much careful with pretty powerful headlamps.
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Old 21st January 2013, 21:51   #4775
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Rightly said!

Suitable for daylight drive else need to be much careful with pretty powerful headlamps.
+1 Unless one is like @Kala who knows this road at the back of his head, I would not advice a night drive. Add to it hair pins around Dimbam.

Day time, its one of the best choices.
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Old 21st January 2013, 22:04   #4776
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Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
Moral of the story, don't attempt driving in the dark on this road - The potholes can break your car especially if you are blinded by oncoming high beam headlights.
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
Rightly said!

Suitable for daylight drive else need to be much careful with pretty powerful headlamps.
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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
+1 Unless one is like @Kala who knows this road at the back of his head, I would not advice a night drive. Add to it hair pins around Dimbam.

Day time, its one of the best choices.
No sir, the stretch that vineeth and coolclouds have been referring to is the Kuthiran area (of which coolclouds had posted the pics). I'd prefer to drive through the Trichur-Shoranur route instead of that stretch even in broad daylight !!

I assume you were referring to the NH209 route. I have driven through that road at night several times, and I assure you that one need not worry about taking that route from a "quality of road surface" point of view. Yes - it's a fact that that stretch is a wee bit deserted, so some may not want to venture through that route in the middle of the night - that would be understandable, but that wouldn't be for the reason that the road surface is bad.
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Old 21st January 2013, 22:05   #4777
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NH209 is traffic free from Kanakapura to CH Nagara: traffic free as in you never need to break except for sharp turns, and you never need to wait at all behind a vehicle for overtaking it.

And night driving is actually better here, considering it is easier to pass the narrow village roads around Yellandur. Those maxi cabs with 4/6 lights is a menace from CH Nagara to Dhimbam only.

As i have mentioned earlier, i have got butterflies in the stomach when i don't see oncoming traffic when going from CH Nagara to Dhimbam. So if i am coming from TN side, with eyes shut i would take NH209, but not so when returning.

EDIT:

Updates after my last trip

1) The road from Malavalli to Kollegal is newly tarred, butter smooth road, in several stretches you can maintain 100 kmph consistently. Watch out for speed breakers before and after crossing cauvery.

2) The bad sections as such is only a few km before & after CH Nagara town. So those traveling at night, keep watch!

Last edited by ramzsys : 21st January 2013 at 22:34.
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Old 21st January 2013, 22:09   #4778
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No sir, the stretch that vineeth and coolclouds have been referring to is the Kuthiran area (of which coolclouds had posted the pics). I'd prefer to drive through the Trichur-Shoranur route instead of that stretch even in broad daylight !!
Sorry I thought he was referring to NH209 as you pointed out. The only reason I was concerned is because as you rightly said, it is NH209 is a bit deserted.
Hair pins also add to the concern. There is NO reason to doubt the condition of the road !

Last edited by ampere : 21st January 2013 at 22:11.
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Old 21st January 2013, 23:26   #4779
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Had a rather hectic trip to Kerala last week - thought I'll update regarding the road conditions on routes I travelled.

12th Jan : Bangalore-Kalpetta : via Kanakapura-Kollegal-Gundlupet-Bathery : Start at 9 AM

Roads in excellent shape till you reach the Karnataka-Kerala border except for a few rough stretches in the Chamarajanagar-Gundlupet sector and then the dozen or so unmarked speedbreakers and 3 trenches (described here earlier) in the first 10-15 kms after you enter the forest. There are more speedbreakers in the last 5-10 kms till the Karnataka-Kerala border, but they are all marked now.

Road from the border checkpost till Batheri continues to be bad - strictly 30 to 40 kmph territory.

Batheri-Kalpetta has been patched up reasonably well except for bits and pieces where roadwork is still ongoing.

4.5 hours door-to-door, nonstop (from Banashankari in Bangalore)

13th Jan : Kalpetta - Ernakulam : via Thamarassery-Mukkom-Areecode-Manjeri-Angadippuram-Pattambi-Kulappully-Shoranur-Trichur-Ernakulam : Start at 12:30 PM

Broken roads between Thamarassery and Mukkom, improving only slightly from there to Areecode. Good roads thereon.

After Manjeri (on the way to Perunthalmanna) Google navigation suggested a short-cut from Angadippuram to Pattambi (A right turn at Angadippuram which takes you to Cherukara on the Perunthalmanna-Pattambi highway). Turned out to be a bad choice - a very narrow road with steep gradients for about 10-12 kms. Might have saved about 5 kms, but I think it would have been much faster to go to Perunthalmanna and proceed to Pattambi on the SH itself.

Pattambi-Kulappully-Wadakkancherry-Trichur : In good shape, but with typical Kerala traffic, so not too fast.

Trichur-Ernakulam : Road condition excellent, but too many signals on the way and very heavy traffic.

Eventually ended up taking about 6.5 hours for the trip with a half an hour lunch break.

13th Jan : Cochin to Kottayam via Cherthala - Vechoor- Kumarakom. : Start at 10:30 PM

Good road conditions, fairly heavy traffic from Cochin to Cherthala in spite of it being rather late at night, almost zero traffic from there on. Vechoor-Kottayam road (via Kumarakom) is also in very good shape but for frequent speed breakers : Took around 1 hr 20 minutes from Vyttila in EKM to Vadavathoor near Kottayam.


14th Jan : Vadavathoor (abt 5 kms east of Kottayam) to Cochin Airport : Start at 03:30 PM

Vadavathoor-Manarcaud-Kidangoor-Marangattupally-Uzhavoor-Koothattukulam-Muvattupuzha-Perumbavoor-Cochin Airport

Decided to take this parallel route via Kidangoor to avoid the traffic on MC road. Excellent road conditions and sparse traffic till Koothattukulam. Good road conditions from there on, but heavier traffic. Did the 90 kms or so in exactly 2 hours.

16th Jan : Cochin-Trivandrum : via Alleppey-Quilon : Start at 01:00 PM

Reasonable roads all through, but heavy traffic most of the way - Took about 6 hours (for 210 kms) inclusive of lunch / tea breaks of about 1 hour.

17th Jan : Trivandrum-Bangalore : via Kulathupuzha-Thenmala-Shenkottah-Rajapalayam-Virudhunagar-Madurai-Salem-Krishnagiri-Bangalore : Start at 2 PM

Decided to take the Thenmala route to avoid traffic on the TVM-Nagercoil route. Proved to be a wrong choice. Reached Thenmala (66 kms) in about 1 hr 25 minutes, but from the Rajapalayam-Thirumangalam route from there proved to be quite slow because of rather heavy traffic and having to crawl through the innumerable villages that dor this route. Eventually couldn't make it till Thirumangalam because of a road block about 27 kms before the destination. Decided to backtrack about 5 kms and take an alternate route to Virudhunagar to connect to NH7 from there. So ended up driving about 210 kms from Thenmala to Madurai (About 35 kms extra) and took about 4 hours to do it.

Madurai-Salem was a breeze. Could cover the 226 kms in about 3hrs 10 minutes including a 35 minute dinner break plus an additional 12 minutes at the tolls on the way (The toll near Dindgul took around 7 minutes !)

Salem to Bangalore (197 kms) took almost 3 hours 20 minutes with stoppages of about 35 minutes at the tolls. Thoppur to Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri-Hosur sectors were the slowest due to heavy truck traffic at the former and the road construction diversions in the latter sections.

Overall covered 700 odd kms in 12 hours which wasn't bad overall, but I felt the Nagercoil route might have been faster even if it had taken 2 to 3 hours to get from Trivandrum to the NH7 entry at Kavalkkinar.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 09:37   #4780
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolclouds View Post
Final set of snaps: Sorry for posting too many snaps but I thought of sharing a clear pic or the entire stretch. Please excuse me for poor quality cellphone snaps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kala View Post
So in my opinion that combination being "fast" is really a fallacy. You end up paying about 300 Rs in tolls, take more time, and encounter higher stress levels driving in much heavier traffic. So is it really worth it ?? I'm not too sure..
@coolclouds - Many thanks for the pictures Really appreciate them. There was a huge pothole in front of Hotel Diana in Vadakkencherry while I travelled on Dec 30th. From your pictures, looks like it has been repaired. I would take NH 47 during day time as it is faster. I could cover Paliyekkara toll to Palakkad in 1.5 hours.

@Kala - Agree with you. It took 3 hours and 10 mins for me to cover the 200 KMs from Salem to my house on Dec 30th afternoon even though I did not spend more than 5 mins in any toll booth. The average speed that you get is really low for a 4 lane road.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 11:08   #4781
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P.S2 : I did aother big mistake of trying out the Trivandrum-Kulathupuzha-Rajapalayam-Thirumangalam route
Even I also felt the same between Shenkottai- Rajapalayam route in the day
time between 12noon- 3pm.As the traffic was heavy. From Srivilliputhur took
the road to Sivakasi-Sattur and then on to the Madurai route.
The problem is only with Sivakasi town as it does not have a bypass and have
to pass through the town traffic.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 12:47   #4782
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Even I also felt the same between Shenkottai- Rajapalayam route in the day
time between 12noon- 3pm.As the traffic was heavy. From Srivilliputhur took
the road to Sivakasi-Sattur and then on to the Madurai route.
.
Sabarimala season now being over now, traffic level would have eased up in NH208.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 13:43   #4783
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Sabarimala season now being over now, traffic level would have eased up in NH208.
I don't think NH208 sees too much of the Sabarimala traffic - especially on the Tenkasi bypass-Thirumangalam sector. Most pilgrims from mid/north portions of Tamilnadu would prefer the Madurai-Theni-Kumily route since it is shorter. Only pilgrims from southern Tamilnadu (say the Tirunelveli / Tuticorin area) would use this NH, but they would most probably join this highway at or around Tenkasi.

The traffic that I saw in my trip last week was mostly local buses / jeeps / cars and trucks. The problem with this NH is that there a lot of largish villages / small towns along the way that aren't bypassed and roads within them are quite narrow leading to the whole traffic coming to a crawl. Once out of these town/village areas the road is quite good, and you can actually drive at around 100 kmph.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 19:38   #4784
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Kanakpura-Satyamangalam-Coimbatore route is scenic with very little traffic. Of course, the road surface is in great shape with no tolls. The route is ideal for those who drive at 80-100 kmph.
Thanks Coolclouds for those images. Regarding Satyamangalam route, how much time usually does it take from NICE road exit to Karumathampatti?
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Old 22nd January 2013, 20:29   #4785
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NHAI earlier allotted Rs. 5 crore for tarring Mannuthy-Vadakkancherry stretch but cancelled now as per news

Now, left with Rs. 60 lakhs for repair work :(
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