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.
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.
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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