Concept report on Agra-Lucknow expressway approved

Lucknow, Oct 3 (IANS) The ambitious 270-km-long six-lane Agra-Lucknow greenfield expressway project gathered speed Wednesday with the public-private partnership (PPP) monitoring committee of Uttar Pradesh approving its concept report.

Officials said that after the state cabinet cleared the eco-friendly expressway last week, the state Public-Private Partnership Monitoring Committee (PPPMC) has approved the concept report of the consultants, Redicon India Pvt Ltd.

The process for selection of project development consultant for preparing the detailed project report will commence shortly and bids for this purpose would be invited within a week.

As per the PPP monitoring committee's recommendations, phasing of the project in a single package, as well as in three separate packages, has been elaborated in the final report, with "inter-alia merits and demerits of each mode".

Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner Anil Kumar Gupta said: "Alternative bidding processes for selecting developers for implementing either the entire expressway as a single project or in packages of three have been included with a view to expedite the execution of project."

The approved concept report also includes provision of flyover and interchange at NH-2 near Shikohabad to provide users the choice of using NH-2 or Expressway. NH-2 links Agra to Kanpur through Etawah, whereas the Expressway is a direct link from Agra to Lucknow.

The concept report proposes four growth centres incorporating the provision of agriculture mandis (markets), warehouses, food processing plants, cold storage, industrial centres, hospitals and schools along with Industrial Training Institutes mostly on barren land.

Growth centres have been proposed at Glass City at Firozabad, Pragati Nagar near Karhal or Saifai, Khushboo City near Kannauj, and a food processing and marketing centre at Malihabad.

Besides, four link roads -- 8.67-km Agra link road, 15.01-km Firozabad link road, 26-km Kannauj link road and 13.86-km Lucknow link road -- have also been proposed.

According to Gupta: "The growth centres would be commercial, business and civic hubs to realise the potential of local traits and materials in order to boost the economy of local areas."

The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has been nominated the nodal agency for implementing the expressway project.

Estimated to cost Rs.10,435 crore on "minimum distance formula", the finalised alignment proposes a 270-km-long six-lane expressway starting from Agra Ring Road close to the Yamuna Expressway and passing through Fatehabad, Shikohabad, Saifai, NH-92 near Etawah, NH-91 near Kannauj and NH-25A near Malihabad and to culminate at the Inner Ring Road in Lucknow.

Apart from cutting short the travel time between Agra and Lucknow to three hours from the present seven hours, the access-controlled expressway will help the swift transportation of perishable farm produce to bigger markets, and boost tourism along the alignment as it will link to the already functional Yamuna Expressway between Greater Noida and Agra.