A well-developed network of roadways is a key factor in measuring the growth of a nation. The fact that India ranks third in the list of countries by road networks next only to the United States and China, underlines the improving position of India globally. The rural roads, district roads, state highways, national highways, and expressways together comprise the road network in a country. To be a truly developed country and to maintain that growth, it is essential that the length of expressways, which are the best form of roads in a country, augment continuously.
Currently, expressways in India measure 600 kms approximately and work is on to add more to the number. If all goes according to the plans, around 18,637 kms more expressways will be added to the Indian Road Network by the year 2022. To ensure the same, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has given contracts to leading infrastructural groups who in turn are working on these projects to the best of their abilities and helping the government to comply with the target’s they have set. A separate department to take care of the project on Expressways in India is planned to be established. The proposed body is planned to be named National Expressways Authority of India (NEAI).
The access to these expressways is limited but not through tolls. The expressway may or may not have tolls. This is done with the aim to ensure smooth flow of heavy vehicles. Through the controlled access, it is made sure that the expressways are used for the purpose which motivated their construction. Several lanes on these expressways make sure that traffic flows smoothly.
Few of the successful expressways that have reduced the traffic woes of people in India include Ahmedabad-Vadodra Express-way (Gujarat) measuring 95 kms, Mumbai-Pune Expressway in Maharashtra (93 kms), Jaipur-Kishangarh Expressway in Rajasthan (90 kms), Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway (28 kms) among several others. Some of the Expressways awaiting completion include Western Freeway in Mumbai (25.33kms), Mumbai Nashik Expressway (150 km), Pathankot Ajmer Expressway, Yamuna Expressway, Hungund Hospet Expressway among others. A total of 2607.46 kms of expressways are under construction in India at the moment. Besides, there are plans to build the expressways between Mumbai and Vadodra, Bengaluru and Chennai and Kolkata and Dhanbad. The Uttar Pradesh Government alone is planning to build five new expressways in the state.
National Expressway 2 or Eastern Peripheral Expressway is a proposed expressway in the National Capital Region which will bypass Delhi on the eastern side. The expressway will provide connectivity between Delhi and the towns of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Baghpat and Sonipat. The project involves the construction of a six-lane expressway with access control from Faridabad to Sonipat. The expressway will be 135 km long and will have two sections, the 56 km-long Faridabad-Ghaziabad section and the 49 km-long Ghaziabad-Sonipat section. The completed expressway will help relieve traffic congestion in the Faridabad-Ghaziabad stretch. Government of India approved funding for the expressway in August 2015.
There have been constant efforts to have it completed it by August. This was the first access-controlled expressway, being constructed at a cost of 4,418 crore. With the central government’s ambitious project Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway nearing completion, the work on Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal (KGP) expressway, also known as the eastern peripheral expressway, is in full swing and the National Highway Authority of India says it would complete the 136-km long expressway by June next year.
The project, which was launched in May, started off with construction work from the second week of April last year with the deadline of 400 days fixed by the Centre. The six-lane expressway will provide a bypass on the eastern side of Delhi reducing a significant amount of vehicles in the Capital as motorists will be able to use the bypass to reach Aligarh, Bagpat, Bulandshahar, Meerut, Lucknow, Mathura, Agra and Kanpur situated on NH24 and NH2, without entering Delhi. “We have completed 40% of the work in the project so far with a filling of multi-layer clay, followed by concretisation, which is still going on,” said Ashish Jain, NHAI project director for KGP.
The ` 7,558-crore project, which passes through Delhi’s periphery aims to serve dual purposes of decongesting the city as well as reducing pollution. Experts say the development of this stretch will also help in uplifting the socio-economic condition of these two states. Further, the highway is expected to boost the real estate sector in various parts of north India.
The project cost includes ` 1,795 crore for land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construc-tion activities. The government has al-ready acquired 1,568 hectares, out of the total 1,632 hectares required for the project.
The state-of-the-art expressway will be of concrete and will have wayside amenities such as parking space, hotels, motels, eateries, toilet blocks, etc.
Sadbhav Engineering Ltd, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, Ashoka Buildcon, Gayatri Projects Ltd and Oriental Structural Engineers have bagged six contracts for the Centre’s most ambitious project to decongest Delhi. The total cost of the project is around ` 7,558 crore including ` 1,795.20 crore for land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities.
The construction period is 30 months and the project is likely to be completed within the July 2018 deadline fixed by the Supreme Court. We have set a deadline to complete the project by May 2018,” said a senior NHAI official. He added the expressway would be of concrete and will have wayside amenities like parking space, hotels, motels, eateries and toilet blocks among others.
In July this year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the development of the six-lane Eastern Peripheral Expressway through government funding.
The government had earlier planned to undertake the project through private funding on build-operate-transfer (BOT) mode but the lack of interest from the private sector led to the mode being changed to EPC.
NHAI had that time invited applications on BOT as well as EPC mode, to meet the time frame given by the Supreme Court. However, it did not receive any single bid for it. On the contrary, it received 167 Requests for Quotation (RFQ) (for all six packages) by the bid date for EPC mode. Due to a lack of response to BOT, the Request for proposals (RFP) was issued and finally was awarded the project to five private players.
It is believed that the development of this stretch will also boost economic activity along its path in the neighboring states.
The start and end points of both EPE & the Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) are the same thereby forming a Ring-Road outside Delhi. Work on the Western Peripheral Expressway or Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) is being handled by Haryana Government. Passing through five districts of Haryana – Sonepat, Jhajjar, Gurgaon, Mewat and Palwal – the 136 Km, WPE Expressway will be six laned. While the Manesar-Palwal Section would be completed next year, the Manesar-Kundli section would be completed in 2018.
The alignment of EPE starts near Kundli (Km 36.083 on NH-1), traverses to cross the Yamuna (EPE chainage 12.6 km), crosses SH-57 at 15.360 km, (near Mawi Kalan) NH-58 at 44.5 km (near Duhai), NH-24 at 52.19 km (near Dasna), NH-91 at 72.725 km (near Beel Akbarpur), Kasna-Sikandra road (near Sirsa), Taj Expressway (near village Jaganpur Afjalpur) at 91.900, river Yamuna (EPE chainage Km. 102.600), Atali-Chhainsa Road (near village Maujpur) and ends at Palwal (64.330 km on NH-2).
Mr. Gadkari claims it is the country’s first infrastructure project where the land acquisition cost is higher than the cost of project work, ` 5,900 crore versus ` 4,418 crore, respectively. In 2016, the Delhi government had moved a plea in the Supreme Court to issue a directive for completion of the two expressways in a time-bound manner. It had argued that 10 years after committing to it, Delhi was still bearing the brunt of the continued movement of traffic and pollution.
Passing through Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the expressway is a peripheral road around Delhi,so that the traffic which is not destined for Delhi, does not pass through the city. This avoids congestion and pollution in the city. At least 13-km stretch of the expressway passes through the Sonipat district and while larger part of the expressway passes through western Uttar Pradesh districts such as Bagpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Faridabad before ending in Palwal at NH 2.The proposed alignment crosses the Yamuna river at Khurrampur/Khata in UP and Faizpur Khadar in Haryana and crosses the Hindon river.
After making an aerial survey of the progress on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway near Jahllaka village in Haryana, Mr. Gadkari stated the project would help reduce vehicle pressure by up to 50% in Delhi, besides reducing pollution.After its completion, vehicles wouldn’t have to enter Delhi for mutual transit to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir.
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