A road tunnel of 1.6 km length is to be built under the Simhachalam hills in coastal Andhra Pradesh at a cost of Rs 200 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) Plus scheme. The tunnel would reduce traffic on NH-16 and cut a 10 km distance to 5 km from the existing 15 km between Visakhapatnam and Simhachalam temple. Varaha Lakshminarasimha Swamy is the presiding deity of the famous temple.
Once the tunnel realised, it will also cut the distance from Visakhapatnam to other remote areas like Adivivaram, Sontyam, Mudasarlova and the zoo park.
Work on the tunnel is scheduled to begin from the financial year 2014-15. The AP Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy headed State Steering Committee (SSC) has given its in-principle nod to the tunnel project.
The CM has asked the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) officials to prepare a fresh detailed project report (DPR) before commencement work on the project.
The tunnel will also reduce distance for lakhs of pilgrims, who every year do a pradakshina around the hills every Guru Purnima in Ashada MasamL