Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday launched three major highway projects entailing an investment of Rs 2,345 crore in Odisha, saying it will go a long way in ensuring speedy development in the state.
The projects will considerably improve connectivity of mineral-rich Angul and Dhenkanal districts with the rest of Odisha, Mr Gadkari said while laying the foundation stone for the projects.
The three national highway projects, with a total length 132 km, will cost Rs 2,345 crore.
Mr Gadkari was accompanied by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
"The cooperation and assistance of the state government will be essential for proper implementation of a number of projects being taken up by the Centre for overall economic development of the region," Mr Gadkari said.
The projects for which the foundation stone were laid include four-laning of the 41.7-km Talcher-Kamakhyanagar section of NH 200/23 (new NH 53) at a cost of Rs 795.18 crore, 51.1-km Kamakhyanagar-Duburi section of NH 200 (new NH 53) at a cost of Rs 761.11 crore and 39.4-km Duburi-Chandikhole section of NH 200 (new NH 53) at a cost of Rs 789.23 crore.
The new projects will have appropriate structures to reduce traffic congestion and ensure safety of road users, Mr Gadkari said.
These would include three bypasses, one flyover, 19 vehicular underpasses, nine major and 39 minor bridges and a 45-km of service road, an official said.
The projects will reduce traffic congestion and travel time, which will help in reducing operating costs of vehicles and bring down the level of pollution, he said.
The projects will also help in generating employment opportunities in the region and improve the socio-economic condition of local people, the ministers said.