Proposal for tunnel in Agumbe ghat gains traction to ease traffic woes

11:48 AM May 06, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

The long-standing demand for a tunnel to facilitate smoother vehicular movement through Agumbe Ghat, linking coastal and hilly districts, has taken a significant step forward.


Agumbe Ghat route serves as a vital artery from Udupi to Shimoga district, but its traffic flow is severely hampered during the rainy season, often leading to impassable conditions. Landslides and other natural occurrences pose serious risks, prompting authorities to restrict the passage of heavy vehicles, allowing only smaller ones.

In response to these challenges, a proposal for the construction of a tunnel was put forth during the visit of Union Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari to Shimoga. Subsequently, efforts have commenced to assess the feasibility and implications of the proposed project.

The National Highways Authority has allocated 2 crores for the preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR), essential for outlining the project scope, its merits and demerits, estimated cost and duration of implementation, as well as alternative routes.

The envisioned tunnel would span approximately 12 kilometers, stretching from Someshwar in Hebri Taluk to Megaravalli in Tirthahalli Taluk. Initial estimates peg the project cost between Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 3,500 crore, though adjustments may occur as work progresses. Notably, ongoing highway projects such as the Malpe-Tirthahalli route could potentially incorporate tunneling, streamlining efforts and optimizing resources.


However, amidst these development plans lies a critical concern for biodiversity preservation. Agumbe, nestled within the Western Ghats, boasts rich and diverse flora and fauna, making it an ecologically sensitive zone. The tunnel construction poses potential threats to this delicate ecosystem, prompting calls for meticulous planning and environmental assessments.

Authorities stress the need for the DPR to address environmental impact mitigation strategies and secure necessary approvals from the Environment Department. Technical challenges are anticipated, underscoring the importance of designing the project with minimal ecological disruption.


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