Daringbadi: The National Highway-59 connecting Daringbadi with Berhampur was reopened for traffic Wednesday, 14 days after a major landslide on the Gajalbadi Ghat disrupted movement of vehicles on the route, a report said Thursday.
The highway was closed after heavy rain triggered by cyclonic storm Titli resulted in a major landslide on the ghat under Sorada forest limits in Ganjam district October 13.
Traffic resumed after officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) cleared huge debris lying on road. The place of landslide on Gajalbadi Ghat was around 15 km from here in Kandhamal district.
However, only two-wheelers, four-wheelers and ambulances were allowed to run on the highway as it would take at least one more week before allowing passenger buses and heavy vehicles to ply, assistant engineer Prasanna Kumar Sahu said while talking to this correspondent Thursday.
The NHAI authorities swung into action after reports about the landslide disrupting communication on the highway was first published in Orissa POST October 14.
It would take two to three months to finish complete repair of the highway, Sahu said.
The highway is termed the lifeline of Kandhamal as all essential goods to Daringbadi, Baliguda, Nuagaon, Tumudibandh and Kotagarh in the district are transported from Berhampur on this route.
The disruption of traffic has led to a hike in prices of essential goods in Kandhamal while the residents were forced travel via Mohana in Gajapati district to reach Berhampur for availing medical care and other services. Similarly, the tourist flow to Daringbadi has sharply declined due to the closure of the highway.
This was the first time that a landslide caused extensive damage to the highway. Huge boulders and soil chunks came rolling down the hills and buried the highway for around 15 km after heavy rains lashed the area. Travelling on the on the highway became next to impossible with large trees, soil and boulders lying in the middle of the carriageway at many places.
The water rolling down the hills washed away the highway at many places but no casualties were reported. The landslide also destroyed vegetation in the area.
The landslide also damaged cultivation in low lying areas of Danekbadi, Makapata, Tepari and Hatimunda panchayats of Daringbadi block and in Indragad, Badagad panchayats of Raikia block as tonnes of soil came rolling down the hills, it was learnt.