Narrow road

Narrow road makes travel to Belthangady difficult

While two district taluk headquarters – Puttur and Sullia – are connected to the district headquarters by a wide and well-groomed road [Bantwal-Mysuru State Highway], road users find it difficult to reach the other two taluks – Bantwal and Belthangady, although they are located next to national road 234.

It is not that the road – the Mangaluru-Vilupuram National Road – is infested with potholes; but it is the steep topography of the road, which is bordered by a number of curves, at least between BC Road and Punjalkatte, a distance of about 21.5 km.

Besides connecting to Taluk Headquarters, NH 234 is also the main link to the popular Dharmasthala pilgrimage center. Pilgrims from the northern hinterland of the state as well as those from the coastal region take this route to reach Dharmasthala, so the road is always bustling with moving tourist vehicles.

Shiradi closure impact

Since January, traffic on this stretch has become dangerous following the closure of Shiradi Ghat and the hijacking of almost all vehicles, except multi-axles and long chassis, via Belthangady and Charmadi Ghat to Bengaluru.

As the district administration relaxed sand mining standards in the Netravathi and Gurupura rivers, many trucks carrying sand to the Bengaluru area became obstacles to the smooth flow of vehicles. At least 250-300 sand trucks use this road to Bengaluru every day and the majority of them are overloaded. As they advance at snail speed along the winding road, cascading vehicle traffic piles up behind each of these trucks with few options for overtaking, said Nagesh, a driver from Karnataka. State Road Transport Corporation.

Even on normal days, the winding road was dangerous when two heavy vehicles came face to face. At least one vehicle had to partially pull off the road to make way for the other, Nagesh said.

And this road becomes more dangerous from Guruvayanakere, where the roads from Moodabidri and Karkala join the highway. From here to Ujire, all vehicles move very slowly, although accidents have become an order of the day. Last week, a father-son duo driving a two-wheeler fell under the wheels of a sand truck when hitting another two-wheeler and died on the spot in Ujire.

Road users seem doomed to endure this ordeal for quite a long time, at least a year. The National Roads Division of the Department of Public Works (PWD) has issued a call for tenders for the preparation of feasibility reports and detailed projects for the widening of this NH to 10 m between BC Road and Belur (127 km). Finalizing the tender could take around four months, PWD sources said.

NH 234 connects Mangaluru with Dharmasthala, Mudigere, Chikkamagalur, Hassan, etc.

Approximately 21.5 km between BC Road and Punjalakatte includes a narrow and winding stretch

The section between Guruvayanakere and Ujire is too narrow

The has witnessed heavy traffic for a decade

Shiradi Ghat closure dramatically increased traffic volume

PWD’s NH division has issued a tender for the feasibility and DPR to widen the road to Belur

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