New Delhi: The four-lane expansion of the 265-km Cuttack-Sambalpur National Highway-55 is set to be completed by March 31, 2024, according to a statement by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in response to a query from BJD MP Mamata Mohanta. Gadkari reported that over 223 km of the project, including more than 128 km between Angul and Sambalpur and 95 km between Angul and Cuttack, has already been completed.
This announcement follows concerns raised by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about the sluggish pace of the project, leading to frequent road accidents. Gadkari had earlier assured the Lok Sabha that the completion was likely by December. However, delays prompted Chief Minister Patnaik to write a letter in March, citing 199 casualties in 399 accidents over two years.
The Sambalpur-Cuttack NH expansion, valued at Rs 4,482 crore, commenced in 2017 and is being executed in three phases: Cuttack-Angul (phase-I), Cuttack-Angul (phase-II), and Angul-Sambalpur (phase-III). Originally slated for completion in September 2020, the project faced setbacks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite a revised deadline of June 2022, delays persisted. In March of this year, Gadkari shifted the completion target to December, and the latest update now sets it for March next year.