Munnar: Daytime road traffic has been blocked between Munnar and Bodimettu, a stretch crowded with some of the best resorts and view points, on the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway (NH85) as part of the development of the crucial gateway to the hill station.
Vehicles have been banned on the narrow stretch connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu from 7 am to 7 pm because boulders on either side have to be blasted away as part of the road work.
The road full of winding ascends and descends is one of the most challenging in the entire high ranges.
The Rs 380.76 crore-project on the 41.78 kilometer stretch is expected to be completed in two years. The work started a month ago. National Highway 85 is a crucial link to Munnar from Tamil Nadu, particularly Madurai and Theni.
The traffic regulations will force visitors to Munnar to travel 30 kilometers extra to reach other tourist attractions such as Thekkady and Chinnakkanal or the Tamil Nadu town of Theni. Vehicles from Munnar are being diverted through Anachal, Kunjithanni and Bison Valley.
Though night drives are not banned on the Munnar-Bodimettu route for the time being, not many people venture on the route after dark due to the presence of elephants and other wild animals.
Traffic on the Kochi-Munnar (135 kilometers) and the Coimbatore-Munnar (160 kilometers) routes are not affected.
With the season on, this could affect the tourist flow to the hill station as over 7 lakh people visit the hill station every year. Munnar is one of the top 5o tourist destinations in the world. However, Idukki district doesn't have an airport and not connected by rail forcing travelers to depend on the windy roads.