UNION Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is hopeful that the construction of the long awaited expressway connecting Delhi with Mumbai will be completed within three years on new alignment from Gurugram in Haryana .Announcement regarding the crucial expressway was made with fanfare in April. It has overcome several hurdles for starting work on the long awaited projected in December, Gadkari added. The road was to originally run parallel to the existing highway (NH-8) but due to high land acquisition cost, the alignment was changed to run it more eastwards, Gadkari told reporters in Mumbai .The new alignment will see the expressway beginning from Gurugram on the Delhi outskirts and running parallel to the existing highway up to Jaipur, from where it will turn eastwards to Alwar, the tribal district of Jhabua and Ratlam in western MP and then move westwards to Baroda in Gujarat , he said.
“We will begin the work on the Rs 1-trillion Delhi-Mumbai expressway from end-December and it will be completed within 30-36 months. Money is not a problem at all. NHAI can raise plenty of cheap money from the market,” Gadkari said.Asked about land acquisition cost, he said, the new alignment has saved government over INR 6,000 crore. While an acre is priced at INR 7 crore according to the original alignment, the new alignment has brought it down to Rs 80 lakh per hectare. The land alone will cost around Rs 6,000 crore.”The expressway will stretch across the states covering two of the nation’s most backward districts, Mewat in Haryana and Dahod in Gujarat. The whole route will be: Delhi-Gurugram-Mewat-Kota-Ratlam-Godhra-Vadodara-Surat-Dahisar -Mumbai,” he said.The expressway will reduce travel time by half between Mumbai and Delhi from 24 hours to 12 hours for cars, and from 44 hours to 22-22 hours for trucks. The distance will come down from 1,450 to 1,250 km as well, the minister said.Gadkari said the biggest objective of the project is to decongest Delhi-NCR as with all the truck traffic which now pass through the outskirts of Delhi will ply past the already congested and polluted national capital. About three lakh vehicles daily ply on the NH-8.He had earlier said, to speed up the work, the construction will start at 40 different locations simultaneously. But the minister did not say how much of the land is already acquired.(pic courtesy eenaduindia.com)