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World's Longest Expressway in India

IBEF, Knowledge Centre

Oct 12, 2021 16:17

Introduction
In 2018, the Indian government announced plans to develop expressways in the country to improve road connectivity and ensure smooth traffic movement on roads. Through expressways, the government aims to improve connectivity to emerging economic hubs (in cities such as Jaipur, Udaipur, Bhopal and Ujjain) and industrial centres and thereby bring economic prosperity to citizens across the country. The development of expressways is expected to create employment opportunities for citizens in the states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The government plans to construct 8-lane expressways in India, with plans to further expand into 12 lanes. This will likely ensure seamless high-speed vehicular traffic on roads and reduce travel time between cities.

Need for Expressways
As per TomTom Traffic Index 2020, three Indian cities (Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi) featured among the top 10 congested cities in the world. Mumbai ranked #2 with traffic congestion level at 53%, Bengaluru stood at #6 (with 51% congestion level) and Delhi ranked #8 (at 47%).

Surging demand for vehicles in the country is leading to high traffic on roads and subsequently, highlighting the need for improved road connectivity and reduced traffic congestion & pollution. According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), vehicle retail sales reached 1,556,777 units in July 2021 over 1,160,721 units in July 2020. Growth in vehicle sales is driven by increased registration of personal vehicles and two wheelers in July 2021. Personal vehicle registrations increased by 62.90% YoY to 261,744 units. Two-wheeler registrations grew 27.56% to 1,132,611 units.

Also, increased industrial activities and growth in various sectors (such as logistics) are contributing to the need for improved connectivity to economic hubs in India.

In 2021, India ranked second in the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. As per CARE Ratings, in 2020, the logistics sector in India was estimated at US$ 215 billion, up from US$ 160 billion in 2017; the growth was backed by rising demand from sectors such as retail, FMCG, consumer goods, e-commerce and manufacturing.

The logistics sector is expected to grow further from 2022 onwards on the back of rising demand from consumers across India. The domestic road logistics sector is projected to grow by 6-9% in FY22, according to ICRA ratings. The growth demand for logistics is contributing to increased traffic on road and thus, demands improved road connectivity for seamless operations of the transport, shipping and logistics sectors.

Key Expressways – Project Pipeline in India
Key expressways (planned or in-progress) are as follows:

Expressways

Total Length

Progress

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway

1,300 kms

As of September 2021, contracts for >1,200 kms have been awarded

Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway

278 kms

To be awarded in 2020-21

Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway

633 kms

433 kms of this corridor are likely to be awarded in 2020-21

Kanpur - Lucknow Expressway

63 kms

To be awarded in 2021-22

Source: MORTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) Annual Report 2020-21

The 1,380-kms Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway is expected to be the world's largest expressway in India. Globally, the second-longest road stretches 1,322 kms in Iceland (the road was completed in 1974).

The estimated cost to construct the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway is Rs. 98,000 crore (US$ 13.08 billion). The new expressway will pass through six states (Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra) and improve connectivity to India’s emerging economic hubs (e.g., Jaipur, Indore, Ahmedabad, etc.). As of September 2021, contracts for >1,200 kms out of the total 1,380 kms have been awarded and construction of some stretches are under progress. The project is expected to be completed by March 2022 and be operational by 2023.

As per government estimates, the project is expected to generate a toll revenue of Rs. 1,000-1,500 crore (US$ 133.48-200.21 million) per month and contribute to the economic growth.

Advantages of the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway
Key advantages of the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway are as follows:

Reduced time to travel and annual fuel savings

The new expressway is expected reduce the travel distance between Mumbai and Delhi by 130 kms and time to travel from 24-48 hours in 2021 to 12-20 hours (once operational).

Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway

Current Travel Time

Expected Travel Time

By Truck

48 hours

18-20 hours

By Car

24-26 hours

12-13 hours

This will immensely benefit travellers, generate annual fuel savings of >320 million litres and reduce CO2 emissions by 850 million kg.

Improved connectivity

The expressway will pass through four states (Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh), apart from the national capital (Delhi) and financial capital (Mumbai). This route will connect the urban centres of Delhi via the Delhi-Faridabad-Sohna section of the corridor, along with route expansion to Jewar Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Mumbai through a route expansion plan. Route expansion via the expressway is expected to improve transportation between major cities and industrial centres and contribute to the overall economic growth.

Employment opportunity

The Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway is expected to cross the tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Thus, construction of the expressway would be a development for these tribal districts and create employment opportunities for citizens.

So far, the expressway project is expected to create jobs for thousands of trained civil engineers and generate >50 lakh man-days of work.

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway – Progress So Far
The progress of state-level contracts, estimated cost and length of the expressway allotted/awarded (for construction) are as follows:

Delhi-Mumbai expressway

Total expressway length

Estimated cost

Contracts awarded as of September 2021

Delhi 

9 kms 

Rs. 1,800 crore

(US$ 240.26 million)

9 kms

Haryana 

160 kms

Rs. 10,400 crore

(US$ 1,388.15 million)

130 kms

Rajasthan 

374 kms 

Rs. 16,600 crore

(US$ 2,215.70 million)

 374 kms (full)

Madhya Pradesh 

245 kms

Rs. 11,100 crore

(US$ 1,481.58 million)

245 kms (full)

Gujarat 

423 kms 

Rs. 35,100 crore

(US$ 4,685.00 million)

390 kms

Maharashtra 

171 kms

Rs. 23,000 crore

(US$ 3,069.94 million)

80 kms

Key Initiatives
Leveraging advanced technologies for efficient implementation of the project

The government encouraged use of advanced technologies for faster implementation of the project (Delhi-Mumbai Expressway). Advanced technologies such as digital maps, GPR (ground-penetrating radar), LiDAR (light detection and ranging), equipment telematics, drone-based surveys and intelligent tendering processes have been used in the entire project lifecycle (starting from the detailed project report preparation to construction activities) to expedite completion.

Land acquisition

The government completed the land acquisition stage in a short span of <1 year for timely execution of the project (Delhi-Mumbai Expressway). For the Delhi to Vadodara section, 15,000 hectares of land was acquired by parallelly obtaining statuary clearances to save project implementation time.

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway: Impact on Key Sectors

Impact on Sectors

Description

Infrastructure
(wayside amenities)

The new expressway is expected to boost growth of wayside amenities such as food courts, restaurants, resorts, fuel stations, facilities for truckers and logistics parks for industrial activities.

Air Medical Services

Development of the new expressway is also expected to boost access to air medical services for accident victims. This would include development of heliports for helicopter ambulance service.

Environment 

The government plans to plant >2 million trees and shrubs along the highway as part of its sustainable initiative.

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project is Asia’s first and the world’s second project to include animal overpasses to facilitate unrestricted wildlife movement.

Steel& Cement

Construction of the expressway is likely to fuel the demand for steel and cement.

Steel: The project is expected to record an estimated steel consumption of >12 lakh tonnes.

Cement: The project is likely to require ~80 lakh tonnes of cement.

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway project also offers huge investment opportunities. In May 2020, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, encouraged players to invest in proposed wayside amenities, townships and smart villages.

The Road Ahead…
In September 2021, the government announced plans to build electric highway between Delhi and Jaipur to accelerate the development of expressways. In line with this, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, stated that trucks and buses can leverage this e-highway at a speed of 120 kmph. The e-highway is also expected to reduce logistics cost by 70%.

Further, the government plans to build more expressways such as the 594-kms Ganga Expressway—at an estimated cost of Rs. 36,230 crore (U$ 4.84 billion)—to further boost economic activities across the country.

According to Mr. Nitin Gadkari, overall road development in the country is expected to contribute to the growth of annual toll income for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). In the next five years (until 2026), the annual toll income for the NHAI is expected to reach Rs. 1.40 lakh crore (US$ 18.69 billion) as opposed to Rs. 40,000 crore (US$ 5.34 billion) in 2021, thus lending a major boost to the overall economy.

Further, India is expected to record more sectoral investments and accelerated industrial activities due to rising government initiatives to develop sectors along with expressways. For example, in September 2021, the Uttar Pradesh government announced an electronics park along the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which is expected to attract an estimated investment of Rs. 50,000 crore (US$ 6.67 billion) and generate employment opportunities.

Supported by such government initiatives, expressways are expected to drive the success of emerging economic hubs across the country and support the India growth story at large.

 

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