Keonjhar: The NH-520, tagged as the communication lifeline between mineral-rich Joda and Barbil in Keonjhar district, has been in a bad shape, even as its reconstruction is in progress with completion of 25 per cent work, a report said.
This has led to traffic snarls becoming acute day by day on the route. The road bears the burden of mineral transportation that generates mining revenue worth crores of rupees for the state and central governments, but is unsafe for commuters.
Traffic snarls have become nightmarish at Bileipada, Joda, Bhadrasahi, Gulai Koida and Barbil. Due to traffic jams, unpleasant situations spring up on the road with buses carrying schoolchildren getting stuck for hours. Thousands of mineral-laden trucks, dumpers, trailers, buses, vans, auto-rickshaws and bikes are found stranded, giving commuters a harrowing time.
The road work has been moving at a snail’s pace while mineral-laden trucks have been causing pollution.
Heavy vehicles are often found plying on the Baitarani bridge at Basudevpur and at Lahanda.
A few weeks ago, students of DAV School (Joda) could not reach school due to traffic jam. They had to sit at Bilepada outpost. Later, their guardians managed to take them home.
In the past, the Collector, the Champua sub-collector, the IICs of Joda, Bamebari, Rugudi, Bileipada and Barbil police stations had held talks with the Joda deputy director of mines about measures for streamlining mineral transportation on the route, but to no avail.
Traffic snarls have also caused severe inconvenience to patients going to hospitals on the route. It was learnt that diversion ways have been laid at different places. Heavy vehicles negotiating diversion roads take a long time, ultimately leading to traffic snarls.
Locals expressed their anger over the routine traffic problem and slow pace of highway expansion.
Reports said that expansion work of the NH has been going at a cost of Rs 540 crore. The work also involves construction of some bridges on the route. The work is supposed to be completed by 2020, but only 25 per cent has been completed so far.
Project director of NHAI (Rourkela), Sourabh Chaurasia, said the road expansion work is affected by traffic jams.
“The Baitarani bridge is in the catchment area of Kanpur irrigation project. It is under the water resources department. The bridge has been causing traffic jam. Traffic is also slow at the Lahanda bridge,” he added.