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Sunday, July 21, 2024

NHAI Initiates Dismantling of Redundant Toll Booth Structure at NITK-Surathkal Plaza After Toll Collection Halt

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) commenced the dismantling process of the obsolete toll booth structure at the NITK-Surathkal toll plaza on NH 66, where toll collection ceased in December 2022, on Friday, January 12.

Over the past year, numerous incidents occurred at the site, including accidents involving heavy vehicles colliding with the toll booth structure, resulting in injuries and traffic congestion. The lack of adequate lighting was identified as a contributing factor to these mishaps.

The decision to halt toll collection came after a prolonged struggle by the Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi, Surathkal, and allied organizations, spanning seven years. Concerns were raised by these groups and local residents regarding the legitimacy of toll collection within the municipal limits of Mangaluru City Corporation.

Despite toll collection coming to a standstill at the NITK plaza, the NHAI had not taken steps to remove the deteriorating structure due to lack of maintenance. Initially, the NHAI had indicated that the structure would remain until combined toll collection commenced at the Hejmady toll plaza.

However, on Friday, the NHAI initiated the removal of the structure, citing increased accidents as a pressing concern. An official mentioned that the proposal to consolidate toll collection from Surathkal and Hejmady at the Hejmady plaza was still pending with the State government. The dismantling process is expected to take two or three days to complete.

Muneer Katipalla, the Convener of Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi, expressed satisfaction over the removal of the structure, considering it a victory for the seven-year-long efforts of the Samithi and local residents. He affirmed that the Samithi would persist in advocating for improvements in the highway stretch between Surathkal and Nanthor, including proper service roads and shoulder drains, the completion of vehicular underpasses at KPT and Nanthoor Junctions, and the construction of a new bridge at Kulur.

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