New Delhi: India’s first 14-lane national highway has today been partially thrown open to commuters by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway project, once completed, will reduce the journey time between Delhi and Meerut to just 40 minutes!
Modi inaugurated a 9 km stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway on Sunday, which the government says has been made in a record time of 18 months as against the earlier estimated time of 30 months. That’s a record 12 months ahead of time!
The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is a smart and green highway with several eco-friendly measures and the added benefit of reducing pollution and fuel outgo by virtue of the time it saves. Package-I of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which was inaugurated on Sunday, extends from Nizammudin Bridge to the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border.
Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about India’s first 14-lane national highway and the Delhi-Meerut Expressway project.
1. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will help decongest traffic in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) and hence reduce pollution. The first package has been built at an approximate cost of Rs 842 crore. The entire project is expected to be completed at a cost of Rs 4975.17 crore. Currently, it takes around 2.5 h, to travel from Delhi to Meerut. Now, thanks to this expressway, that time will be reduced to 40 min. The expressway will do away with 31 signals that used to be on the Delhi-Meerut road.
2. The first stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway consists of a six-lane expressway with 4+4 service lane — hence making it a 14-lane highway from Nizamuddin Bridge to Uttar Pradesh border. In the first phase, five flyovers, four underpasses, and four foot-over bridges have been built. Two new bridges have been made across the Yamuna river.
3. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is a 100% access-controlled, signal-free national highway. As stated above it is India’s first 14-lane national highway. The entire Delhi-Meerut Expressway project will be 82 km long. Out of this 27.74 km will be 14-laned while the rest would be a 6-lane expressway.
4. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway has a 2.5-metre-wide cycle track on either side of the highway and a 1.5-metre wide footpath. According to the government, the Delhi-Meerut Expressway would be the first to have dedicated bicycle tracks on the stretch between Delhi and Dasna which is almost 28 kilometers long. Interestingly, NHAI has commissioned artists to paint and beautify the pillars and walls of underpasses of the newly built stretch of the expressway.
5. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway has vertical gardens – a step aimed at reducing the overall pollution levels. The watering of plants on the expressway will be done through the drip irrigation system. In the first package, a vertical garden has been made at the Yamuna Bridge. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway makes use of solar power. The step is welcome at a time when the world shifts to renewable and environment-friendly forms of power.
6. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway project eventually aims to connect Delhi-NCR to Meerut, western Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. The entire project envisages building 11 flyovers/interchanges, three rail-over-bridges, five major and 24 minor bridges, 36 vehicular and 14 pedestrian underpasses. Around 5.91 km of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be an elevated section. The project has been divided into four packages: Nizamuddin bridge to Uttar Pradesh border (8.36 km), UP border to Dasna (19.28 km), Dasna to Hapur (22.27 km), Green-field alignment of Delhi-Meerut Expressway from Dasna to Meerut (31.78 km).
7. The expressway is “smart”, as it has an intelligent traffic management system (HTMS), and video incident detection system (VIDS), and a closed tolling system, which collects toll amounts based on distance traveled, and not on the entire length of the expressway. Other safety features include Variable Message Signs, Weigh-in-Motion, Pavement Management Systems, Fiber Optic Network, warning devices, and real-time incident management.
8. Additionally, due consideration has been given to the aesthetic appeal of the expressway. It features water fountains and artists have been commissioned to paint the underpass walls as well. Technological advanced and constructed with futuristic thought, the expressway is sure to enhance the experience of highway travel in India.