BHUBANESWAR: In order to improve communication between North and South-West Odisha, the State Government has decided to launch Biju Expressway, one of the projects announced by the BJD during 2014 election, with a project cost of Rs 3,630 crore.
The expressway will connect major towns and commercial centres of the regions. While the northern part of Western Odisha is economically developed, south remains backward due to lack of connectivity. However, the project cost of the expressway, which was Rs 3,200 crore last year, has now increased to Rs 3,630 crore.
The proposed expressway, measuring 650 kms, will start at Chandli (border village in Koraput district) and touch border towns/market centres such as Borriguma, Ambapani, Gadbhanga, Dharmagarh, Sinapalli, Bhella, Nuapada, Paikamal, Padampur, Sohela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh before ending at Rourkela.
As per a decision of the State Government, 307 kms of the total length would be developed into four lane standard while the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will develop another 183 kms.
The 160-km road from Sambalpur to Rourkela (SH-10) will be made four lane through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Official sources maintained that the expressway will improve road communication in four KBK districts (Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada) and four Western Odisha districts (Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh).
Besides, it will connect these areas with important towns of Chhattisgarh including Jagdalpur, Raipur, Raigarh and Ranchi. The road is expected to cope with the increased traffic intensity due to growth in agriculture, mining, industrial, educational and commercial activities. Official sources claimed that on completion, the road will also provide better accessibility to tackle law and order situation in Left Wing Extremist (LWE) areas.