Odisha government launched Rs 3,200 crore-Biju Expressway project, an economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela.
The project will be connecting four districts of western Odisha like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, and Sundergarh with four KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) districts viz. Koraput, Nawrangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada.
The proposed expressway project will also connect the border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh, and Rourkela.
In the first phase of the project, 254km road will be converted to four-lanes and 402 kilometers to be two-lanes. In the second phase, 258km will be made four-lane. While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase completion target has been fixed by the end of 2019.
The state has already started 4-laning from Rourkela to Sambalpur (160km) through PPP mode while 4-laning from Sambalpur to Sohella via Bargarh (74km) to be funded by ministry of road transport and highways. The project entailing an estimated investment of Rs 3,200 crore will be funded by both the state and the Centre.
As the expressway would pass through one of the most backward regions of the state, KBK region, it would help boost its economy. Post completion of the project the travel time from Jagdalpur to Rourkela will be reduced to six hours from the current 13 hours.