Update on NH 66: Tiruvannamalai Bypass not ready for Deepam


When I wrote about the NH 66 road upgrade project in June, 2013 in this posting, I reported what the government said, that the Tiruvannamalai Bypass would be complete by Deepam, 2013. Now I have seen that clearly it will not be finished by this time, and during the full moon night of Deepam, the time that one million people walk Arunachala Pradakshina, you will not be able to take a car or autorickshaw across Tiruvannamalai, neither west to east or east to west.

Before this project started there was a back road that could be used for this. Now that road is in the middle of the construction area, and is only passible by motorbike.

Here is a map of the route, showing what will be done, and what will not be complete.


Carol and I went out this morning, 19 October, about one month before Deepam, to see how the project was doing. I had heard from rickshaw drivers that it would not be finished. We wanted to look for ourselves.

Here is the Bypass route, where it joins the main route, Chengam Road, west of Tiruvannamalai. A dirt track and big mud puddle are all that we see.


While we were standing at the intersection, saying how no vehicle could use this road, a big water truck owned by the road construction company, Transstroy, came by and turned in. These trucks spray water to keep the dust down. They also carry water to where they are pouring concrete. We wanted to follow the route, but it seemed too muddy in this stretch. It was amazing that the truck didn’t get stuck in the giant puddle.


The route cuts through the fields.


At this spot pictured below, the roadbed is complete, just waiting to be paved.


Where it reaches “Hospital Road” (that goes by Rangammal Hospital), the roadbed is unfinished, and there is a big ditch and pile of dirt to keep traffic off the construction.


We walk to the roadbed.



Arunachala from this point.


The roadbed going east. It is mainly finished here, waiting to be paved. We have not checked out the whole route yet, so we think that maybe part of the Bypass will be usable by Deepam.


Then we start seeing unfinished and semi-finished culverts. All the concrete work is done here, just waiting for the roadbed on top.


Another culvert with the concrete work finished.


Ahead is pavement!


This looks beautiful. I start wondering why I don’t see any cars?


No cars because just ahead the road goes back to being very not finished. Here’s the next big culvert, not finished.


They are putting in the rebar that will reinforce the concrete.


A bridge will be here.


This will be a pretty big bridge. No way this will be finished by Deepam.


No more pavement, just good roadbed.


A pile of dirt ahead.


A small culvert. All the concrete work is done.


Arunachala past the culvert.


Good roadbed, but unfinished. It needs the foot-thick layer of crushed rock. Stones mark it off …


…so you don’t drive over the culvert pipes.


Arunachala from this point.


Another culvert.


The cement work is done, but much work needs to be done on the roadbed.


Arunachala with cows and palm trees. And a big pile of dirt in front.


Nice smooth sand underlayer of roadbed.


Construction machines. Not nearly as many as you would see on a similar project in the USA. That is part of the reason this takes so long to finish, I think.


Another culvert. Concrete finished.


Arunachala again.


Another barrier across the road.


More smooth underlayer.


Arunachala one more time. This view goes fully from east to west, and shows, beside Arunachala, Parvati Hill on the left.


More mud, and the roadbed is not even started here.


Another culvert in process.


The last full view of Arunachala I will have in this post. Om Arunachala!


So muddy here that Carol decided to get off and walk.


The Bypass route meets Highway 6, Tiruvannamalai – Kallakurichi Road. Construction on the other side of the road seems not more advanced that what we have just been over.


I am sorry to report that the Tiruvannamalai Bypass will not be complete for Deepam. So for at least the next few months, Tiruvannamalai will remain basically impassible east to west during the full moon Arunachala Pradakshina. One finished, though, it will be a great convenience, and one of the best ways to get amazing views of Arunachala.

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15 Responses to “Update on NH 66: Tiruvannamalai Bypass not ready for Deepam”

  1. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I hope you are doing Good, Do you have any information or picture of current state of the Road “Bangalore/Krishnagiri to Tiruvannamalai Section”

    Do you know how many Toll gate will be installed bw these section, It will help us to see the picture as that where is the status of the road construction now.

    Please upload the Latest pictures if you have any by now, otherwise your comments are good enough


    • Richard Clarke Says:

      No recent photos. work is still ongoing, I think it is starting to get a bit better.

  2. B K Says:

    Hi, Can you please provide the latest update on NH 66 from Tindivanam to Tiruvanamalai.Will it be completed by April 2014 ?At what stage is this stretch now?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Still working on it, some places are done, some are under construction. wasn’t too bad last time I was on it. Still slower than the old days.

  3. Lalitha Ramesh Says:

    Richard, Thanks so much for this this update. I have often been wondering how the road work was progressing. I last travelled to Tiruvannamalai in early April. Am eagerly waiting for the day when travel from Blore to TVMalai will be a smooth ride. Wishing you and Carol a Very Very Happy New Year and Belated Christmas Greetings

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I bet it is one more year before they are finished. For now I wowuld say to use the alternate route that I showed.

  4. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    HI Richard,

    “WIsh you Happy christmas and Happy New year”

    Happy Holidays..


  5. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    For more detais —–>www.NHAI.COM—>Programms—–>NHDP PHASE 111. Row no : 61.

  6. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    2-Laning of Krishnagiri-Tindivanam (Approved Length 170 Km.) 66 176.51 624 Annuity
    AWARD DATE —>May 2011 —>STAR DATE (Apr 2012) , END DATE —>

    Apr 2014 Transstroy (I) Ltd. – Corporation Transstroy OJSC Consortium-Indian – Russian


    – Under Implementation

  7. Gyan Bhat Says:

    Thanks Mr.Richard .Could you please share an update the road completion between Singarapettai-Chengam-Thiruvanamalai ?
    Thanks a lot .

  8. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    Hi Richard, since you are doing very good things for us, I would like to know about your profile, I born and brought of from Tiruvannamalai , Right now living at Chicago, could you share your profile

  9. Ramesh Sundaram Says:

    Richard, Hats off to you..Nice work,..Please dont spend time for another 6 months time to take this pictures, we could see that it will not be completed before June 2014, Thanks a lot for the Photos.

  10. kalpa108 Says:

    Why expect anything to be delivered by the corrupt and inept local or state govts. on time, or ever? The bypass was ‘planned’ when I came here more than twelve years back! The Chengam road /bypass junction was in the same state one year ago as it is now in your photo. One improvement, after about two years, is the repaving of Post Office road, in concrete! Most other smaller residential ‘roads’ are mud-puddled tracks and have been since the DMK dug these up and never bothered to replace them.
    A dirt-bike is definitely one answer! But dengue fever and other mosquito borne diseases are now prevalent in the area due to all the septic standing water in residential areas, alongside the rag-weed.

  11. cspacenz Says:

    Just wouldn’t be right to have everything go smoothly !!

    I’d definitely be investing in a moto-cross bike if I lived in India.

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