SHIMLA: The four-laning work on the 48-km long stretch of National Highway-21 between Punjab’s Kiratpur and Ner Chowk in Mandi of Himachal Pradesh will be completed by the end of this year, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
In series of tweets, the minister said that the stretch will connect tourist places in Manali and pass through five tunnels and 22 major bridges over Satluj river. The project will reduce the travel time between Kiratpur to Kullu to just hours, he stated.
“(The completion of the project) will boost tourism and ensure prosperity for the people of Himachal Pradesh. It will boost tourism and ensure prosperity for the people of Himachal Pradesh,” the minister tweeted.
The ongoing work 4-laning of 48 km long Kiratpur Nerchowk (NH-21) stretch connecting the mesmerising tourist place of Manali, Himachal Pradesh through 05 Tunnels and 22 Major Bridges over river Satluj… pic.twitter.com/Dxz1mCzNGB
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) March 14, 2022
The Kiratpur-Ner Chowk four-lane project is one of the four contiguous projects being carried out by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to widen the crucial Chandigarh-Manali road from Kiratpur in Punjab, to Kullu in Himachal in order to cut down the distance between these two places.
Work on the project from Kiratpur near the Punjab-Himachal border to Ner Chowk in Mandi district via Bilaspur started in November 2013 and was expected to be completed in three years.
However, it was delayed due to financial crunch and finally abandoned by the concessionaire company in 2018. The NHAI later resumed the work in two phases – “brownfield alignment” on which the existing road had to be widened, and a 47-km stretch of “greenfield alignment” falling in Bilaspur district, which had to be built afresh.