National Highway 48 (India)
Road map of India with National Highway 48 highlighted in solid blue color
|Length:||328 km (204 mi)|
|East end:||Bangalore, Karnataka|
|West end:||Mangalore, Karnataka|
|Bangalore - Hassan - Mangalore|
National Highway 48 or NH 48 is a National Highway of India running entirely within the state of Karnataka. It links the Port city of Mangalore with the state capital Bangalore, two major cities of Karnataka state. NH 48 passes through towns of Nelamangala, Kunigal, Hassan, Sakleshpura, Uppinaangadi and B.C.Road. It climbs the Western ghats through the Shiradi range. Total length of this highway is 328 km (204 mi). The highway is known as B.M. (Bangalore- Mangalore) Road and B.H. (Bangalore - Hassan) Road in some stretches where it traverses.
The traffic on this highway has increased after 1990 mainly due to the setting up of MRPL at Katipalla, Mangalore. This highway for movement of goods to and from New Mangalore Port. The government undertaking KSRTC runs several buses day and night in between these two cities along with private operators.The trucks and trailers carrying LPG and other petroleum products from MRPL to Bangalore have been frequent cause of accidents in this road. Also the condition of this national highway gets worse during monsoon ( rainy ) season especially in ghat section. Travellers avoid this route and take either Bangalore-Mysore-Kushalnagara-Mangalore or Charmadi route during rains from month of June to October, even if it takes longer time.
The road traverses through ghats till Sakleshpura from Mangalooru and then it is Bayaluseemae region up to Bengaluru, where road is much straight. One can see coconut and arecanut plantations, coffee estates, dense forests of western ghats and paddy fields. This national highway 48 offers breathtaking view of western ghats (Sahayadri) of India during the monsoon season. The NH 48 starts at Mahaveer circle at Kankanady in Mangalore which is junction of NH 17 and road coming from Mangalore city and joins the NH 4 near Nelamangala, which is approximately 25 km (16 mi) north from heart of Bangalore city.
Indian railway has resumed train services between Mangaluru and Bengaluru after conversion of railway track gauges from metre gauge to broad gauge under Project Unigauge. This railway follows Bantwal- Kaniyoor- Subramanya road- Yedakumeri- Sakleshapura route. Many people prefer train journey in this route, as its less stressful even though it takes longer time.
National Highway 48 is getting widened and upgraded to the 60-meters wide, 4-lane highway. Mangalore - B.C Road(45-meter wide) and Hassan - Nelamangala(60-meter wide) section has been upgraded to 4-lane highway. Final pending stretch of Hassan to B.C Road has been notified and land acquisition is in progress. Forest area including ghat section will not be part of the widening exercise as forest department has not given permission to acquire the land for widening.
The stretch passing through the Western Ghat is a major nightmare in this highway. After every monsoon PWD department repairs the stretch of the national highway going through the Western Ghat. The road most of the time of the year is filled with potholes and the problem of the pothole ridden stretch does not seem to be getting solved as large and heavy trucks pass through this stretch on their way to the seaport at Mangalore. The Shiradi ghat section is the dreaded section in this highway, which has resulted in drivers asking for extra money to travel in the NH-48. Road condition worsens every monsoon as shiradi ghat is located in one of India's high rain falling regions. Vehicles take at least two hours to cross the 35-km stretch from Manjarabad to Gundia (Shiradi Ghat). And, taxis charge 50 paisa extra a kilometre on this route.
There was a proposal put forward by Japanese consultants to dig the tunnel through the Shiradi ghat which could have brought down the travel time in ghat section from 3 hours to 30 mins, but as of Jan 2013 the proposal was stalled as environmental clearance was not provided. However, in July 2013, Karnataka state Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai announced that Union Ministry of Surface Transport has given its nod for the construction of the tunnel and the Japanese company has been consulted to undertake the work. 18.5 km multi-stage tunnel from Gundya in Dakshin Kannada and Saklespur in Hassan District will include 5 tunnels and 4 overbridges including a 2 km arch bridge and will cost INR4,800 crore (INR 48billion or US$850million) with offers from private players to undertake this project on PPP (Public Private Partnership basis) without capital investment from the government. Tunnel will provide a straight road in place of the road with multiple hairpin bends, thereby saving travel time for vehicle users and an all-weather road which is not exposed to the high rains.
Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, Mr. Oscar Fernandes, has supported a tunnel through Western Ghat to which will reduce travel distance between Mangalore and other parts of Karnataka, reduce the travel time, will result in accident rate reduction, fuel savings, reduction in vehicle maintenance cost and usage of large sized trucks in the route(which is now not possible) thus enhancing the efficiency of industries transporting goods to the Karnataka's only major seaport and air-cargo facility at Mangalore. It will also reduce the human-wildlife interaction. Vehicle traffic will easily go through forested area without disturbing wildlife or the natural flora and fauna. Night time travel of the vehicles will not disturb the road crossings of the wild animals, as the vehicles use a tunnel to go through Western Ghat. Elevated highway will have design features to reduce noise and light, which will make the night traffic across Western Ghat less intrusive with wildlife. Project can have additional environment safeguards by having sound dampeners which would cut off the sound of vehicles. The stretch can restrict speed of vehicles to 40 km/hr and dimming of head lights. It can have the pillars of the bridge covered with creepers which would make wildlife oblivious of the road overhead.
Clearances for tunnel from Forest and Environment Ministry would “not be a problem” as the tunnel would be “bored underneath the forests”. Only clearances are needed for the entry and exit of the tunnel. The Mumbai-Pune Highway was cleared within three months, and so same can be expected same here.
This highway is expected lose importance as Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India has proposed a Greenfield (i.e., new and parallel) access controlled Expressway Corridor connecting port cities of Chennai on the east coast and Mangalore on the west coast via Bangalore. This highway-expressway combination can be compared to Mumbai-Pune Highway-Expressway combination. Two-wheeler, three-wheeler and local traffic will use the 4-lane highway(without access control and designed for slower traffic), where as truck, bus and four-wheeler will zoom at the maximum speed on the access-controlled 3D Right of Way designed 6/8-lane expressway(3D right of way concept means adding the space (height) element to the usual length and breadth dimensions involved in road construction).
- "National Highways Starting and Terminal Stations". Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
-  NH-48 on MapsofIndia.com