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Govt aims at 17,661 km of new expressways by 2022

September 10, 2009 02:27 IST

The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry proposes to build a huge network of expressways by 2022, also the final year of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan.

The ministry plans to build expressways in 3 phases -- by 2012, 2017 and 2022 -- and, accordingly, it has prepared a draft report for a network of the proposed 17,661-km of stretches.

The report has suggested the government set up the proposed expressways on both an annuity and a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, with permission to levy toll. On PPP, the report has suggested two schedules: either build the expressways in three phases -- 2,665 km by 2012, 3,690 km by 2017, and 6,031 km by 2022 -- or build 2,665 km by 2012 in the first phase and 9,721 km by 2017 in the second phase. The report further suggests that along with either of the two suggestions, the ministry should build 5,275 km of roads on an annuity basis till 2022.

The ministry has estimated the cost of building 100 km of four-lane expressways at around Rs 1,784 crore, while building six-lane expressways would cost around Rs 2,548 crore. The cost of civil work has been broadly estimated at Rs 14 crore a km for four-lane expressways and Rs 20 crore a km for six-lane roads.

In the sixth phase of the National Highways Development Programme, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had planned to build 1,000 km of expressways, and had identified a few stretches, including Vadodara-Mumbai, Delhi-Meerut, Kolkata-Dhanbad and Bangalore-Chennai.

The report has also suggested that any stretch with traffic volume less than 5,000 passenger car units  should be included in the annuity mode, while those above 25,000 PCUs should go on a toll, without any viability gap funding.

The report also lists three toll structures -- normal ministry toll (the toll charged currently), 50 per cent more, and 100 per cent more than that.

The consultants have recommended certain amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of the NHAI, on the lines of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Act.

A study on identification of a National Network of Expressways had been initiated in 1991. This was followed by a pre-feasibility study of the expressways network in 1998. The study recommended a total length of 15,776 km of expressways by 2020, with priority given on the links connecting the four metros. The time frame for each stage was stipulated at six years.

Mihir Mishra in New Delhi
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