Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NHAI to decide on elevated highway on October 10

NHAI to decide on elevated highway on October 10

The Hindu

Hyderabad-based consortium emerges successful bidder for Rs. 450-crore project

# 15-km highway to be constructed on BOT basis under direct tolling method
# Litigation involving BMIC not to come in the way
# To reduce travel time from Silk Board junction to Electronics City
# Soma-Nagarjuna-Maytas combine offers upfront grant of Rs. 16 crores to the NHAI
# 14-lane highway to be built within 30 months

BANGALORE: The Board of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is slated to meet on October 10 to discuss and approve the proposal submitted by a Hyderabad-based consortium for building a 14-lane highway connecting the Electronics City and Silk Board junction in Bangalore, a top NHAI official has said.

A joint venture between Soma Enterprises, Nagarjuna Construction Company and Maytas (a group company of Satyam Computers) in July emerged the successful bidder to develop a 15 km highway from Hosur Road leading to Electronics City at an estimated cost of Rs. 450 crores on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis under the direct tolling method.

Upfront grant

The Soma-Nagarjuna-Maytas combine has offered to pay an upfront grant of Rs. 16 crores to the NHAI for rights to build the highway facility. " The bid submitted by Soma-Nagarjuna-Maytas consortium will be considered by the NHAI Board during a meeting scheduled for October 10," Santosh Nautiyal, Chairman, NHAI, told The Hindu here last week.

He said the litigation involving the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor will not prevent the NHAI from approving and implementing the project.

Travel time

Once operational, the new highway will ease traffic congestion and drastically cut travel time from Silk Board Junction to Electronics City. "Currently it takes between 30 minutes and 90 minutes to travel from Silk Board Junction to Electronics City depending upon the time of the day and the volume of the traffic. The new highway will reduce travel time to six minutes or a maximum of 10 minutes on this stretch", an NHAI official explained.

This is one of the few instances where a private operator has agreed to pay a grant (termed negative grant) to the Government/NHAI for developing a highway project instead of taking a grant (called capital grant) from them, after the highway sector was thrown open to private investments in 1999-2000.

The Soma-Nagarjuna-Maytas combine will have to build the 14-lane highway within 30 months (including a six-month period for achieving financial closure) of signing the contract.

Apart from the four-lane elevated highway spanning a length of nine km, there will be a six-km main carriageway on the ground level which will comprise three-lanes on either sides and a service road involving two-lanes on either sides, taking the total number of lanes to 14.

The private operator will recover his investment by collecting toll from the users during a concession period spanning 15 years. The toll rates will be different for the elevated highway and the ground level carriageway where traffic levels are expected to touch 1,10,000 passenger car units per day.


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