Shillong, Dec 5 : The over two-decade wait for better and fast road connectivity to the North Eastern States of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura via Shillong bypass is likely to be over in a few days’ time. Though almost 20 years late, the NHAI’s ambitious 48 km Shillong Bypass project has been completed a year ahead of its December 2013 schedule.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister’s office has expressed desire to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and other functionaries of the UPA-II for commissioning of the Rs. 220 crore project. The much awaited Bypass would help ease traffic congestion in the city and would be beneficial not only to landlocked Meghalaya but also for other States in the region like Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur.
The social economy of the entire region is expected to get a major boost as the project is likely to save more than Rs. 5,000 crore annually in the region. Trucks and other heavy vehicles moving to Jaintia Hills, Barak Valley and further would take this route. Also, the bypass will come as a big relief to the air-travellers as there will be a cut of almost one-and-a-half-hour drive from the city to the airport. Often there were complaints about people missing flights as they got stuck up in traffic.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told The Pioneer that the Shillong Bypass would be inaugurated before Christmas. “We are planning to inaugurate the project sometime in the second or third week of December. This would be the first project in the region which is being completed one year ahead of the deadline,” Sangma said.
The project was delayed due to several problems, including that of alignment in different parts of East Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts. The Bypass starts at Umiam in Ri-Bhoi district and ends at NH 44 near Mawryngkneng in East Khasi Hills district and includes a major and eight minor bridges in this hilly area also adding to the scenic value in the region.
Shillong Bypass is one of the two most ambitious NHAI’s projects in North East with the other being the 61.80-km four-laning of Guwahati-Shillong NH-40 which is still under development. “This is one of the rare feats of the country’s road making agency which has completed a difficult project almost a year ahead of its schedule. The Meghalaya Government wants to commission the project for national interest,” said a MoRTH official.
On the other hand, the widening of Rs. 530 crore NH-40 began which began early this year. This too is on track after facing a roadblock recently at Umsning in Ri-Bhoi district due to land compensation and realignment problems. The Centre-approved project is also likely to ease traffic snarls on NH-40, which connects Shillong to Barak Valley in Assam and Mizoram through NH-44.