The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has commenced the groundwork on NH-88, also known as the Shimla-Mataur national highway project, which is a four-lane highway project worth ₹10,000 crore. The completion of this project will ensure a safer and faster journey between Shimla and seven districts in lower Himachal, including Solan, Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Chamba, Kangra, and Una.
The current stretch from Shalghat near Shimla to Nauni Chowk in Bilaspur is the most treacherous, and the entire four-lane project has been divided into six packages. Package-1 includes the Shimla to Shalaghat stretch, followed by Shalaghat to Nauni Chowk Bilaspur (package-2), Bhager to Hamirpur (package-3), Hamirpur bypass (package-4A), Hamirpur bypass from Cheelbahal to Bhangwar (package-4), and Bhangwar to Kangra (package-5B).
An amount of ₹650 crore has already been spent on land acquisition for all six packages, and ₹3,208.53 crore has been sanctioned for packages 5B, 4, and 4A. The work on the Bhangwar to Kangra stretch has already begun and is likely to be completed by the end of next year. The detailed project reports for the Bhager to Hamirpur and Shimla to Shalaghat stretches are being prepared on a war footing, and after their completion, the construction work will be awarded to the winning bidder.