The National Highways Authority of India has planned to construct two big tunnels in the southern region of Odisha as part of the 465 km Raipur-Visakhapatnam Economic Corridor involving ₹20,000 crore investment. It has been approved under the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I, and involves the construction of six-lane national highway project to be built in hybrid annuity mode. It will pass through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. While the highest 240 km will be built in Odisha at an estimated cost of around ₹10,000 crore, Chhattisgarh has its share of 125 km and the rest 100 km falls in AP.
The Centre approved the Kaliagura-Baunsaguar section of the NH to be built at around ₹1,539 crore. The corridor will run through Koraput and Nabarangpur districts and intersect two existing highways near Kunduli and Kamara. As per the detailed project report (DPR), two tunnels of around five km will be constructed in the mountain ranges of Eastern Ghats. Chief General Manager (technical), NHAI, Ram Prasad Panda informed that the tunnels measuring around 3.5 km and 1.5 km will be built in Sunki ghati. The highway has 124 km in Nabarangpur district and 116 km in Koraput.
Financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the NH project will improve the efficiency of freight movement and boost exports besides easing traffic. The greenfield project starts from Abhanpur near Raipur in Chhattisgarh and ends at Sabbavaram in AP and is expected to be completed by 2025.