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Old 15th January 2020, 21:17   #12406
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Any Idea on the status of the Kuthiran tunnel? Has it been abandoned?
Kuthiran had some issues last year. Land slides had some rocks blocking the tunnel way. After that it is like abandoned only. No news later. Guess it is a failure and will never open for traffic i guess.

Last edited by deemash : 15th January 2020 at 21:20.
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Old 15th January 2020, 21:25   #12407
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Kuthiran had some issues last year. Land slides had some rocks blocking the tunnel way. After that it is like abandoned only. No news later. Guess it is a failure and will never open for traffic i guess.
One of the tunnels is 95% ready. Traffic has passed through the tunnels when the ghat was blocked. All it needs is some push from NHAI and action on the defaulted company. The 2nd tunnel is only 70% complete, and hence will take atleast one year of work for it function. If the govt can spend 50 crores now, the tunnel can be made ready in a year. The govt can seize the properties of the construction company later to get the 50 crores back
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Old 16th January 2020, 08:12   #12408
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Kuthiran had some issues last year. Land slides had some rocks blocking the tunnel way. After that it is like abandoned only. No news later. Guess it is a failure and will never open for traffic i guess.
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One of the tunnels is 95% ready. Traffic has passed through the tunnels when the ghat was blocked. All it needs is some push from NHAI and action on the defaulted company. The 2nd tunnel is only 70% complete, and hence will take atleast one year of work for it function. If the govt can spend 50 crores now, the tunnel can be made ready in a year. The govt can seize the properties of the construction company later to get the 50 crores back
As per what I know, the company that built the tunnel went bankrupt due to the constant work disruptions (strike) and funds not coming in from the govt. The company couldn't pay the wages on time that led to massive manpower shortage. The Palakkad-Parli SH is one of the best SH I have ever seen, sadly has a tragic history where the contractor committed suicide because the govt delayed settling the bills citing one reason or the other.
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Old 16th January 2020, 09:37   #12409
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As per what I know, the company that built the tunnel went bankrupt due to the constant work disruptions (strike) and funds not coming in from the govt. The company couldn't pay the wages on time that led to massive manpower shortage. The Palakkad-Parli SH is one of the best SH I have ever seen, sadly has a tragic history where the contractor committed suicide because the govt delayed settling the bills citing one reason or the other.
Just curious - I thought the NH is BoT? Why depend on govt for money? The impression I got was they did not pay the labourers promptly thus precipitating the strikes.
Yes - you are right about the second part - the SH were upgraded under some ADB project, and when the new government under the most aged active politician took over, payments were stopped. Those roads continue to be ones with best surfaces till date in spite of a decade and half elapsing.
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Old 16th January 2020, 11:35   #12410
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Attention those who are planning to go to Kerala via Kuthiran -


Icing on the cake is Thrissur (Paliyekara toll plaza). As per records, only 60% of vehicles availed Fastag facilities and from tomorrow only one lane is there for cash payment.

Found this article in Malayalam-
It is reported in today's Malayala Manorama that Paliyekara has been exempted for next weeks from mandatory Fastag implementation. There will more lanes accepting cash payment during that period.
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Old 16th January 2020, 11:47   #12411
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Just curious - I thought the NH is BoT? Why depend on govt for money? The impression I got was they did not pay the labourers promptly thus precipitating the strikes.
The B phase requires significant capital investment. The way it works is that the company winning the bid will get funding from banks/NBFCs to actually construct the road. This funding (often debt) needs to be serviced by way of returns (interest payments). When the project gets delayed (the O phase), the toll-based cashflows also are delayed resulting in defaults on these payments.

Edit: "This funding" could also be the share NHAI, state government or whoever offered to bear, too.

Last edited by binand : 16th January 2020 at 11:51.
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Old 16th January 2020, 22:10   #12412
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Hello guys,

I'm planning a roadtrip from Chennai to Kerala. Of course, I had to check with Team BHP.

We are planning to leave Chennai on 24th and return on 27th. The rough idea is to drive on day 1, spend some time exploring on day 2, 3 and drive back on day 4.

I have a rough idea of reaching Idukki on day 1, book a room there for all 4 days and exploring other places.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on what places we should absolutely cover.

Thanks!
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Old 19th January 2020, 15:08   #12413
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Originally Posted by rakesh_r
My sympathies for people who commute through that route, The Palakkad-Kuthiran-Thrissur has to be one of the worst sections I have overcome. Any Idea on the status of the Kuthiran tunnel? Has it been abandoned?
Quote:
Originally Posted by deemash
Kuthiran had some issues last year. Land slides had some rocks blocking the tunnel way. After that it is like abandoned only. No news later. Guess it is a failure and will never open for traffic i guess.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rakesh_r
As per what I know, the company that built the tunnel went bankrupt due to the constant work disruptions (strike) and funds not coming in from the govt. The company couldn't pay the wages on time that led to massive manpower shortage.
From what I have heard from local sources (not any main stream media). The contractor/builder had been severly hit during the De.Mo and also when they got into legal trouble due to unethical practices. My understanding is that their HQ is in either AP or TG, and they also undertook similar work in other parts of India. If my memory serves right, this agency was also building the RoB in Kolkotha which came crashing down. Overall the impression I got was that this stretch of the NH was being built by a dubious road contractor.

This stretch of the NH is built on the BOT model, so no point in blaming Govt. of India in not paying any money to be paid as wages etc. That is just passing the buck. The contractor gets the right to levy tolls, and he can do that when the work is 70% complete. In fact a big toll plaza was getting readied at the Palakkad-Thrissur district border which now stands there as an abandoned ghost building.

Much later there were also concerns that the whole Kuthiran hill (under which the tunnel is built) has very loose soil and chances of land slides happening are very high. So questions were being raised on the tunnel design and its safety. Whether the tunnel can with stand heavy land slides was raised as concerns by the geological authorities. The approach road with a bridge leading to the tunnels is also not fully completed.

So for all practical reasons Kuthiran Tunnel is now in a "suspended" state. Nobody has any idea on what would happen. Even if a new contractor gets assigned and begins the work, the tunnel's safety and security concerns still remain. And when such concerns exist, no sensible contractor would want to pick up the work and complete it (as his chances of recovering the costs is at risk). A "catch 22" situation.
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Old 19th January 2020, 17:59   #12414
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My understanding is that their HQ is in either AP or TG, and they also undertook similar work in other parts of India. If my memory serves right, this agency was also building the RoB in Kolkotha which came crashing down. Overall the impression I got was that this stretch of the NH was being built by a dubious road contractor.
This is not correct. The RoB in Kolkata - I presume you are talking of the collapse of the under-construction flyover on Vivekananda Road - was contracted by IVRCL, who consequent to this accident ended up in bankruptcy. The Kuthiran contractor is KMC which has done other road works, notably Hyderabad ORR and BM Road, and also several sections of NHDP. They have sub-contracted the tunnelling work to Pragati Engineering who built the Bhatan tunnel on the MPEW among others.

What I understood went wrong at Kuthiran is this: KMC won the BOT contract. They raised loans from banks conditional on specific performance. They could not meet performance constraints at all; because of land acquisition delays (was completed in 2013 when the contract required them to open up the road in 2012), delays in obtaining necessary environment/forest clearances (the area falls under Palapilly RF), local objections to blasting activities etc. Due to these delays their loan repayments didn't happen on time so the banks refused to disburse further amounts. NHAI wouldn't guarantee NBFC loans so that also didn't work out as an option. GoK cannot fund because they are already bankrupt and anyway wouldn't fund any road project that involves toll collection. This is where things stand now; and unless the funding imbroglio is not resolved this project will not go anywhere.
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Old 24th January 2020, 14:42   #12415
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How is the road condition from Cochin to Udupi? Heard roads in KL are not that good. I have decided to take this route to Goa and Udupi (Samanvay Boutique Hotel) will be my pitstop. Hopefully, the early morning start will help us avoid the traffic in KL.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 24th January 2020, 14:51   #12416
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How is the road condition from Cochin to Udupi? Heard roads in KL are not that good. I have decided to take this route to Goa and Udupi (Samanvay Boutique Hotel) will be my pitstop. Hopefully, the early morning start will help us avoid the traffic in KL.

Thanks in advance.
Till Kozhikode it is OK. After Kozhikode - Kannur - Kasaragod it is narrow. Kasaragod - Thalapady has some bad stretches.
Once you cross border, you have good recently (may be 2 years) laid toll roads.

Overall, apart from traffic I dont think there is much problem with the roads. Try to start early and cross the KL stretch as much as possible.
Are you planning to take the NH 17 or 544 till thrissur and to calicut?
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Old 24th January 2020, 16:00   #12417
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How is the road condition from Cochin to Udupi? Heard roads in KL are not that good. I have decided to take this route to Goa and Udupi (Samanvay Boutique Hotel) will be my pitstop. Hopefully, the early morning start will help us avoid the traffic in KL.
A 4 AM start from Kochi will see you at Kozhikode outskirts by 8.30. 10.30 - 11 at Kannur. 12.30 or more at Payyannur.
Start at 5, and you will pass Kozhikode by 10.30. And Kannur by 1. Hope you get the idea. You will spend at least 10 hours in painful Kerala traffic. And another 9 hours from Talapady to your destination.

Also, several stretches from Kundapura were under construction. Especially from Bhatkal.

FYI, Some years back this question was posted by another user, and he was suggested - possibly in half seriousness - Kochi - Bengaluru - Goa. For Bengaluru - Goa, there is a different thread.

If night driving is OK for you, I suspect the 2nd option will be far less tedious. I suggest you start late night, pass Bengaluru by early morning, and reach Goa before sunset. Take rest, and enjoy next day. This will be on 4 lane divided highway for the night drive, except L&T bypass.
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Old 24th January 2020, 17:04   #12418
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Originally Posted by deemash View Post
Till Kozhikode it is OK. After Kozhikode - Kannur - Kasaragod it is narrow. Kasaragod - Thalapady has some bad stretches.
Once you cross border, you have good recently (may be 2 years) laid toll roads.

Overall, apart from traffic I dont think there is much problem with the roads. Try to start early and cross the KL stretch as much as possible.
Are you planning to take the NH 17 or 544 till thrissur and to calicut?
I plan to start between 3-3.30am. As of now, decided on NH 544 since I will be able to cover some distance being early morning.

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A 4 AM start from Kochi will see you at Kozhikode outskirts by 8.30. 10.30 - 11 at Kannur. 12.30 or more at Payyannur.
Start at 5, and you will pass Kozhikode by 10.30. And Kannur by 1. Hope you get the idea. You will spend at least 10 hours in painful Kerala traffic. And another 9 hours from Talapady to your destination.

Also, several stretches from Kundapura were under construction. Especially from Bhatkal.

FYI, Some years back this question was posted by another user, and he was suggested - possibly in half seriousness - Kochi - Bengaluru - Goa. For Bengaluru - Goa, there is a different thread.

If night driving is OK for you, I suspect the 2nd option will be far less tedious. I suggest you start late night, pass Bengaluru by early morning, and reach Goa before sunset. Take rest, and enjoy next day. This will be on 4 lane divided highway for the night drive, except L&T bypass.
Initially thought of covering Cochin- Blore-Davanagere (Halt) and continue to Goa the next day. Did check the other thread for options too. But my friend did Blore-Goa and said the some sections are pretty bad. Also, I don't do night drives and the earliest start would be 3AM.

Last year I did Cochin-Coorg via Calicut and was able to reach Coorg for lunch (3.45am start).

So that's the plan for now, start early and reach Udupi in the evening.
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Old 24th January 2020, 17:11   #12419
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If Udupi is a must go, you really don't have much of a choice. It is the Notional Highway (old no) 17 all the way - with 2 variations to Trichur and Edappal instead of Ponnani.
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Old 24th January 2020, 17:21   #12420
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Quick update on Kuthiran on my drive last week. The roads are now tarred and had no issues crossing that stretch. Onward drive was on 12th Jan at around 10am, return was on 19th Jan at 7am.
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