The Union ministry of road transport and highways will construct an elevated corridor (passageway) above the Mandakini river between Sonprayag and Gaurikund for smooth movement of vehicles going towards the Kedarnath shrine.
Gaurikund is situated nearly 18km from the shrine.
“The proposal has received in-principle consent of the union ministry and we hope to start the work in the next 4-5 months,” said PK Maurya, project director of the union ministry of road transport and highways.
The cost of the corridor project has been pegged at Rs 120 crore.
“It’s going to be a first such move to negotiate the harsh and fragile terrain in the Himalayan region and probably the country as well. The elevated corridor will pass over the landslide-vulnerable level of the hills lying on both sides of the Mandakini,” Maurya said on Friday.
Once commissioned, the 750-meter-long and 12-meter- wide corridor, to be constructed at the confluence of the Mandakini and its tributary Songanga close to Sonprayag, will cut short the travel distance of Kedarnath pilgrims by nearly 2-3km.
According to ministry officials, the corridor will help pilgrims bypass landslide-prone areas. The stretch between Sonprayag and Gaurikund is often blocked by landslides mainly during the rainy season, affecting the Kedarnath pilgrimage. The Kedarnath valley was ravaged by landslides triggered by cloudbursts in June 2013, killing more than 5,000 pilgrims.
According to Maurya, the elevation alignment for the corridor will start from Sitapur, nearly 2-3 kilometers ahead of Sonprayag.
The corridor between Sitapur and Sonprayag, from where the 24-km pedestrian trek starts for Kedarnath, will be a concrete bypass over the present road. “Due care will be taken to restrict the Mandakini floodwater below the corridor in every case of inclement weather. The plan envisages to keep the corridor earthquake-free,” said Maurya.
Safety for pilgrims and faster movement of their vehicles to Gaurikund will augment revenue earnings by the Uttarakhand government, he said.