The ambitious eight-lane highway connecting Delhi to Mumbai is likely to be ready within two years, according to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
While speaking at the 60th Annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on 3 September, Gadkari had said that the highway could be operational in the next two years with the current rate of road building per day averaging to 30 kilometers per day, with the highest being 40 kilometres per day for highways.
Currently, driving from Mumbai to Delhi or vice versa takes approximately 20-24 hours travelling through 1,400-kilometre long NH48. But now, after the completion of the expressway project, the distance between the two metropolitan cities is expected to be approximately 1,275 kilometres, with the travel time cutting down from an arduous 24-hour journey to only 12 hours.
According to the Financial Express, the project was necessitated because of heavy congestion on the Delhi-Mumbai National Corridor along NH-48 of the Golden Quadrilateral.
Earlier reports suggested that the project was earlier expected to be complete by 2023.
Gadkari had said in the apst that greenfield alignment for this project had been selected to avoid habitation and optimise the cost of land acquisition.
"We have saved about Rs 16,000 crore on land acquisition front alone as land could be acquired at a cost of Rs 80 lakh per hectare for the project," he said, adding that the expressway will unlock new economic opportunities in hinterland districts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The project has a capital cost of ¹82,514 crores which includes a land acquisition cost of ¹20,928 crores.
Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, and Nitin Gadkari had laid the foundation stone for this project in March 2019.
Built under Phase-1 of the NHAI's Bharatmala project, spanning over a period of five years (2017-18 to 2021-22), the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is one of the flagship highways.
Delhi-Mumbai Expressway: Here are a few things which you should know about the new project:
- Spanning 1,275 kilometres, it will be an eight-lane expressway with provision to expand to 12-lanes in the future with a design speed of 120 kilometres per hour and will be India's longest 'Greenfield Expressway'
- The corridor will be completely access-controlled with a closed tolling.
- The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has created a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to finance the construction of the project. The SPV shall raise debt on its balance sheet, while the NHAI retains the operational control during construction and operations and management.
- A network of 75 amenities has been planned on either side of the expressway at 50-kilometre intervals
- This project is estimated to generate employment of nearly 50 lakh man-days during the construction phase
- Taking into account the current traffic scenario, the Centre decided to develop this alternative alignment, which connects Delhi with Vadodara, and on linking up with the proposed Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway would create seamless connectivity between Delhi and Mumbai.
- The expressway will also act as an alternative to the existing route along NH-48, which is longer (1,440 km) as well as more congested
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has estimated that about 320 million litres of fuel would be saved per annum because of the shorter alignment between the two cities
With inputs from PTI