Saturday, May 15, 2010

An update on Indian National Highways - Part 1

In this Part - 1 of the two part series, I post the pictures of the newly constructed highways from North, South, East, West and the Center of India and at the end bring about the best parts and what's lacking in the newly constructed highways. Part - II will deal with some interesting statistics, scope for further growth and other challenges in the road growth and why India cannot aggressively go like China.

Remember, it is very easy to say what is special about having 4 lanes, why not 8 lanes considering the population? Answer:
  1. We must realize we have very high population and the unused land is very low. Population density is very high.
  2. We have begun to build roads pretty late (usually you plan cities after you build roads, but in India it has been otherwise). 
  3. Even if we did have land, no one is going to drive from Kashmir to Kanyakumari (even if there was an access controlled expressway with very high speed limits), simply because it consumes enough fuel which no one would shell out unless there is a need. 
  4. A majority of long distance travel will always continue to be done via trains. 
  5. Hence, 6-8 lanes must be done only between pair of cities where the road movement is very high i.e. say Delhi-Gurgaon (which currently has), Delhi-Noida (currently there), Delhi-Agra (under construction 6 lane - to be opened in 2011), Ahmedabad-Mumbai (6 lane under construction), Delhi-Jaipur(under construction), Chennai-Bangalore, Bangalore-Mysore, Mumbai-Pune (already there), Hyderabad-Vijayawada, Bangalore-Hyderabad and many such places.

PIC COURTESY: Google, Skyscrapercity, team-bhp and indian highways group.

1) Entrance to LEH:

2) Panipat elevated highway

3) Some road stretches - Agra-Mathura, Agra-Jaipur

4) Ambala Chandigarh highway and some roads in Rajasthan, Haryana and Allahabad (UP)


1) Roads in GUJARAT..(Ahmedabad-Vadodara, Samkhiali, Kutch, Bharuch). The last 2 are aerial views of interchanges on Ahmedabad-Vadodara highway.

 2) Roads in Maharashtra:
The first 2 pics are of Kasara Ghat.

(Pune Kolhapur below)

(towards SEONI in MP below)
(Sion Panvel Highway above)


1) Pics in Karnataka: (Nh4 Tumkur and Mysore-Mangalore highway stretch and the last are North Karnataka Belgaum and Bellary side, Hubli Dharwad road)

2) Andhra Pradesh (Andhra-Karnataka border, outside Hyderabad, Vizag roads and the last one is Bhavani Chengampalli bypass road):

3) TamilNadu: (Salem, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Nagercoil roads)

(Roads in Asanol-Dhanbad connecting Bihar to Jharkhand, then you can see West Bengal, Bihar's NH-2 and the last 3 show the roads in NE that are under construction)


Madhya Pradesh roads: (Jabalpur, Seoni).

Positive Impact of the ongoing Highway expansion
·         Public-private partnership is the best way to go rather than depending on Govt to do everything.
·         Vehicle production has increased and multinational companies are investing in R&D to develop high mileage cars. In fact, the auto sector saw a 40% growth when there was recession in the West.
·         People have begun to drive long distances by road.
·         Speed limits can be maintained as high as 100 km/hr on several stretches if not all.( Most roads in China have 110 km/hr while expressways in China have speed limits of 120 km/hr). The postage signboard is 80 km/hr on several Indian highways newly constructed.
·         Signboards indicating distances on almost all major highways.
·         More companies are ready to invest in not only making roads, but also constructing malls, colleges, and factories around the highways.
·         Many jobs are being created and this is an excellent opportunity for civil engineers, contractors, companies and every stakeholder in the making of a highway.
·         Several stretches are being 6 laned.
·         Real estate is booming in all areas where these new highways are coming up.
·         Inventory levels and the frequency with which they can be filled up have increased for almost all firms in those cities which the new highways connect (because of availability of better roads by which freight travel has become easy).
·         Boom time for steel, cement, construction companies and especially demand for heavy commercial vehicles and road construction equipment manufacturers.

Flip Side of the ongoing highway expansion
·         Road fatalities haven’t decreased. First of all, when Drivers License can be obtained without actually driving we can realize what sort of drivers drive.
·         Greenery not maintained on all highway roads.
·         Shoulder lanes are not available everywhere.
·         Although most stretches are being done on BOT basis for 30 years...what happens after 30 years?  Who’s going to maintain it?
·         The accountability of the contractors in maintaining roads so far has been fairly good as per reports from various journalists and newsgroups. However, some contractors do not maintain the road despite people paying heavy toll. Unless Govt has an automated mechanism of monitoring the entire highway project, it is very difficult to expect perfect accountability.
·         Lane spacing on some roads is not uniform.
·         No proper presence of hotels, petrol bunks everywhere. The Government is trying to mandate the same, but sometimes land not available everywhere.
·         Adequate stretches where people can cross are not uniformly made on all highways.
·         We need almost 20 years before we see any proper lane discipline on highways, forget city's roads. The only silver lining is that the barriers in the middle of the roads ensure you don’t bump onto the opposite traffic and vice versa.
·         By passes and exits are not well executed by all contractors.
·         No road side emergency services. This is crucial and is absent.
·         It is very important that the Government takes critical inputs from various other countries outside India to ensure we have the best roads.


H V Kumar said...

That was a great summary on the highway expansion in India. Fantastic collection of photos! My only notes of dissent:

- the toll collections are a rip-off for us, having already paid taxes, highway cesses, and it is incorrigible how the highway concessionaire agreements can permit continual escalation of tolls regardless of capital recovery and cost of operations

- in many sectors, there is no alternative non-toll road, which agitates against the basic tenet of giving road users a cheaper (or no-cost) choice

- there are no controls over traffic indiscipline, especially of traffic coming the wrong way with the full knowledge and blessing of the cops and the toll contractors

- some of the roads need immediate upgradation from 4 lanes to 6 lanes

Adarsh Bhat said...

Awesome pics. Thanks :)

shishir said...

fantastic article, thanks

Kishore Betrabet said...

Fantastic article with good pictures.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I have a request..can you start a post on progress in six laning the entire Mumbai-Delhi stretch. Delhi-Gurgaon is six laned and Gurgaon-Jaipur has started construction two years ago. Jaipur-Kisangarh is six laned and recent news says Kishangarh-Ahmedabad will start in 3-4 months. Vadadora-Surat is done and by August Surat-Dahisar (a suburb of Mumbai) will be finished.
What would be great is regular and detailed progress on the remaining parts.. mostly Kishangarh-Ahmedabad and Gurgaon-Jaipur.


good pivtures

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