Government to rate national highways on 20 parameters

November 23, 2015

Government to rate national highways on 20 parameters

NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra has said that the project will cover the entire NH network and one of the key parameter will be the green cover and beautification along the NHs.

NEW DELHI: Considering that most stretches of highways in India don’t provide much comfort to commuters on different parameters such as smoothness of the ride or sensibly designed entry/exits, the government will now start rating all national highways (NHs).

The road transport and highways ministry is preparing about 20 parameters for objective assessment of NHs from time to time. They include, commuters’ comfort, safety, aesthetics and other facilities for pedestrians. These will work as guidelines for both the commuters and the government, sources said.

NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra has said that the project will cover the entire NH network and one of the key parameter will be the green cover and beautification along the NHs.

This massive exercise is being undertaken for objective assessment of highways to identify the worst stretches that need immediate attention of government. “It will be an objective way of measuring things and will help avoid a situation where government undertakes works for political reasons. We are identifying the criteria, which will largely cover the width and quality of road, what is the satisfaction level of all types of road users and safety features as well,” said a road transport ministry official.

The proposal gains importance considering the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized the need to develop highways and all other related facilities to ensure that people “enjoy” the drive on any stretch of NH.

Sources said though across the world no country has rated its NHs or express motorways, India has planned this since many highway stretches here are of one and two lanes. “Either we take a decision that no NH will be less than four lanes or we have to put some mechanism in place for objective assessment of the existing stretches. Rating of highways will also create greater public awareness,” said an NHAI official.

Source: The Times Of India

National Highways strength to be raised to 1.5 lakh km: Nitin Gadkari

November 23, 2015

He said that his ministry was aiming at raising the daily road building to 30 km by March end.


SONIPAT: Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today stressed upon increasing the number of express highways in the country and said the strength of national highways will be raised to 1.5 lakh km by next month.

He said that his ministry was aiming at raising the daily road building to 30 km by March end.
“We witness 5 lakh accidents on roads every year in which 1.50 lakh people die. We have analyzed the reasons behind these accidents. We found the number of vehicles is on the rise whereas there is less infrastructure to complement the surge in vehicle numbers. There is a need for developing new highways in the country,” Gadkari said.

The Minister was addressing a gathering here where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of three highway projects (341 km long) worth Rs Rs 13,802 crore at the Rajiv Gandhi Education City at Rai today.
“We have a road strength of 48 lakh km in the country, out of which 96,000 km are national highways. We will increase the strength of national highways from 96,000 km to 1.50 lakh km by coming December,” he said.

He further noted that single lanes will be made to double lanes while two lanes will be turned into four lanes, six lanes and eight lanes.
Gadkari said that Eastern Peripheral expressway would be the first axis controlled project in the country where vehicles would be able to run at a speed of 120 km per hour.

According to the Minister, Delhi will be the biggest gainer with the coming up of both Eastern Peripheral expressway highway and Western Peripheral expressway highways.
“Delhi will be the biggest gainer as traffic problem will ease, level of pollution will come down and number of accidents will drop,” he said, adding that states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will also be benefited with these highway projects.

Gadkari stated that his ministry would commence work on the 14-lane Delhi to Meerut Expressway project this month.
He said a decision has also been taken to develop a transport, educational and medicinal hub alongside the new expressways.

“Amenities like petrol pumps, helipads, restaurants, fruits and vegetables pavilions, entertainment, dhabas for truck drivers, will come up on the roadside which will generate employment,” he said.
The Union minister said that his ministry’s aim was to contribute 2 per cent to GDP in next five years.

“We are also working on how to give employment to 50 lakh youth in coming five years,” he said.

He noted that water, power, transport and communication were the keys to take the country forward.

The minister said that a study has been initiated to develop express highway from Delhi to Jind, Jind to Ludhiana, Ludhiana to Amritsar and Amritsar to Katra which will facilitate travelling from Delhi to Katra in eight hours.

“I hope with the support of the governments of Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, we will be able to reach Katra for Vaishno Devi from Delhi in a car in eight hours,” he said.

Gadkari said under Jalmarg Vikas Yojana, projects have been approved for Ganga Mahanadi, Brahmaputra and others.

“For Yamuna river, a DPR (Detailed Project Report) has been prepared. We have seen a dream that a waterway will be developed for enabling people to see Taj.
“A company of Netherlands is preparing the DPR. Since Parliament did not function during last three sessions, the projects for converting 111 rivers into inland waterways could not be taken up,” he added.

Source: Economic Times

Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone for four laning of National Highway 6

November 23, 2015

The Union Surface Transport Minister said developmental works worth Rs 50,000 crores would be completed in west Vidarbha region in next 5 years.

AKOLA: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid foundation stone for the four-laning of the Akola-Murtizaur section on National Highway 6.

Gadkari, who laid the foundation yesterday, assured all round development of west Vidharbha region in Maharashtra comprising of three districts of Akola, Washim and Buldana in next five years.

The Union Surface Transport Minister said developmental works worth Rs 50,000 crores would be completed in west Vidarbha region in next 5 years.

Gadkari also dedicated the Raj Rajeshwari Setu to the public.

Work of road construction covering 194 kms distance from Amravati to Chikhli would be completed in next 2.5 years, he added.

He said funds will made available for health education and transport hubs along NH 06 at Akola in near future.

He asked BJP MP Sanjay Dhote to obtain the 40 acres of land needed for the hub.

Taking a swipe at Congress, he said the party failed to give justice to the people in all respects during its rule of long tenure in the country.

Dhotre and other local leaders were present on the occasion.

Source: Economic Times

Sector monitor: Highway building in fast lane

November 23, 2015

highway projects, road infrastructure development projects, highway development projects, CCEA, National Highways Authority of India, NHAI, Indian express, nation news, india news

123 of the 676 district headquarters to be connected by developing world-class highways at an estimated cost of Rs 96,000 crore.

100 road projects to be awarded on public-private partnership basis in the coming financial year.

Rs 11,500 cr worth 7 road projects awarded on PPP mode so far this year. This is in sharp contrast to 733 km of projects valued at around Rs 6,300 crore awarded on BOT (toll) mode in the whole of last financial year.

18 tenders for roads projects to be developed under PPP that the government wants to float by December this year.

SOURCES: The Indian Express


December 10, 2014

Tunnels provide an effective method of linking hilly and other difficult areas, often curtailing journey time. The Indian road network does not have too many tunnels on date, but some of these constitute critical links of important highways in various parts of the country. Existing tunnels on roads and highways include the Jawahar Tunnel (2.6 km), a vital road link connecting Jammu with Kashmir, Bhatan Tunnel (1 km) on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and so on.

Several more tunnels are either planned or under various stages of construction in different parts of the country. The one under construction below the Rohtang Pass in the Leh-Manali Highway will be the longest (8.8 km) in India and the highest in the world, and would pass through the Eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas.

Whether these tunnels reduce travel time between end points or are the preferred or only means of travelling between them, the adequate safety and security of travelers during transit is of paramount importance. The perceived security threats from natural and man-made causes may include:

 Blocked traffic
 from heavy snowfall outside (Jawahar tunnel faces this several time each year)
 from accidents or road damages (motorists come to know when they are already part of the blockage and cannot escape)
 from fallen stones or other material falling off the moving vehicles

 Lack of ventilation
 In shorter tunnels, the draft of air due to vehicle movement provides natural ventilation.
 In longer tunnels (typically more than 500 m), the air draft from moving vehicles becomes inadequate and additional means of forced ventilation becomes essential  Dark interiors
 most tunnels have little or no illumination in the interior and the motorists are dependent solely on their vehicle lights  In the event of vehicle light failure, the motorists are often required to move in pitch dark interiors

The modern day technology offers a range of solutions to mitigate these conditions, like -
 VIDS (Video Incident Detection System) – to detect incidents/blockages, etc.
 CCTV Cameras with infra-red capability to facilitate round-the-clock surveillance in tunnels
 VMS (Variable Message Sign) displays well ahead of the tunnel entry for advisories to motorists
 Dedicated communication facilities to enable users or maintenance teams to seek emergency assistance or to send SoS messages to Emergency Control Rooms

However there is no ONE SOLUTION THAT SUITS ALL – it must be customized to each specific location and site conditions.

Sudipto Chakarvaty

20,000-km highways on PPP project underway; state roads to get facelift from October

September 27, 2014

JAIPUR: The Public Works Department (PWD) has identified 8,910-km state highways (SHs) and major district roads (MDRs) to be built under the state government’s ambitious 20,000-km road construction project. The entire project is to be completed over the next five years, involving an investment of Rs 70,000 crore on PPP mode.

Proposals for development of the SHs and MDRs to be built in phase-I with 29 packages (investors) have been finalised in consultation with the Planning Commission. In addition, the PWD would undertake construction of 3000-km roads in nearly 3,000 villages under the “Gramin Gaurav Path” Yojana under PPP mode.

“Work for building the roads would begin by November,” PWD minister Yunus Khan told reporters on Friday. “From October 1, we will also begin patchwork of roads damaged in the monsoon. Around 48,000-km broken roads would be repaired, which would cost between Rs 600 crore to Rs 1,000 crore by early next year. We have already got Rs 400 crore for it,” Khan said. Besides, the department was working on repair of 163-km stretch of the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway. “Our part of the NH repair would be completed by March 2015,” the PWD minister said.

For proper planning, monitoring and execution of the ambitious infrastructure project for the next five years, a dedicated PPP division has been set up with 34 senior engineers and officers, headed by additional chief engineer Shiv Lahari Sharma. The division, which was inaugurated by the minister on Friday, would be merged with the Rajasthan State Highway Authority created under the Rajasthan State Highway Bill, 2014, recently passed by the state assembly.

The minister attempted to dispel public apprehension about the state roads becoming a ‘web of toll taxes’ under the PPP mode. “There are 1.10 crore registered vehicles in the state, and of these, just 8 lakh (or 9%) vehicles are levied; but that too only when they move on the toll roads, which happens once or twice a month. What is the harm in paying a small amount as toll when we are getting smooth roads that reduce the travel time considerably?” Khan reasoned. The minister said the state had 1.95-lakh-km-long roads. “For maintaining them, we have two options – either tax everyone (for government funding) or tax just the commuters on particular roads (PPP mode),” Khan said.

“We want Rajasthan to emerge as a model state in road infrastructure. The way to achieve it is through PPP; there will be no looking back on the path we have taken,” the minister emphasized. He added that the state would soon come up a toll policy.

PWD principal secretary D B Gupta said of the 1.95 lakh km state roads, the department was earlier maintaining about 1.25 lakh km in cities and on the highways. “About 70 private investors have now approached the department to work on PPP mode for road construction so far,” Gupta said.


Source:Times of India

Infrastructure investment needs to pickup: Official

September 26, 2014

Investment in infrastructure development needs to pickup for better asset creation and delivery of projects, a senior government official said Tuesday.

According to R.P. Singh, chairman, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI): “The infrastructure situation in the country is dismal; the pace of investment is sub-optimal and unless we come out of the subsidy regime and inject substantially more funds into capital expenditure for asset creation, the situation will not look up.”

Singh who was speaking at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI) India Infrastructure Summit 2014, attributed the perceived failure of public private partnership (PPP) projects for developing infrastructure projects to the failure of the people who handle such projects rather than the concept.

Singh underlined the need for a rational tolling policy so that the user is not charged arbitrarily, especially where the charge is disproportionately higher in relation to the distance actually travelled.

“Much of the problem on PPP projects is caused by aggressive bidding for projects, and tendency to pass on the risk to the government when the project becomes unviable,” said Singh.

Singh’s views were corroborated by Shipping Secretary Vishwapti Trivedi who said that PPP by itself was not a bad concept.

“If you have the money go for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts or else build roads through the PPP mode”,” he said.

Recently, the government said that it will develop highways under the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) rather than PPP mode.

The shift in policy is significant given the new government’s focus on developing infrastructure.

The EPC entails that the contractor build the project by designing, installing and procuring the necessary labour and land to construct the infrastructure, either directly or by subcontracting.

However unlike PPP, the financing is done by the government and not by banks or private equity funds through issuing of sovereign bonds or taking financial guarantees for the project.

The highway sector currently contributes around 4.5 percent to the GDP and is responsible for job creation and has a multiplier effect on the economy. However, delays due to land acquisition, forest clearances, defence land handovers have stalled progress in the sector.

This has caused build up of project non-performing assets (NPAs) worth crores of rupees where banks have participated or helped in financial closure.

Industry estimates the cost of these projects which are worth Rs.60,000 crore to have escalated further.


Source:big news network

MSRDC to deploy quick response vehicles for E-way accident victims

September 22, 2014

Since 2002, there have been nearly 2,000 accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. (Source:Express Archive)

With the current helpline service and a small fleet of regular ambulances being inadequate to provide immediate medical care to accident victims on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the state agency in-charge has decided to purchase quick-response vehicles for the 95 km long Expressway.

The quick response vehicles will be sophisticated ambulances equipped with emergency medical services that can be used for basic patient care till the accident victim is driven to the nearest hospital.

“We are looking for private companies to supply the vehicles with their centres and operate them for a period of 10 years. The quick response vehicles will be stationed at four different locations that are the nearest to the most accident-prone spots along the length of the expressway. We are yet to decide on the exact locations where the vehicles will be stationed,” said an MSRDC official, who did not wish to be named.

The corporation has earmarked Rs 66 crore for the purchase of the quick-response vehicles. The exact number is also yet to be finalised.

The six-lane Mumbai-Pune Expressway was fully opened for traffic in 2002. Since then, there have been close to 2,000 accidents in which more than 500 people have died. Officials say that most of the accidents are due to over-speeding, tyre bursts and the intensity of the accidents is exacerbated due to human errors such as not fastening seat belts and drivers dozing off at the wheel in the night.

Over the last two years, MSRDC, under whom the expressway was constructed, has decided to take various steps to improve safety levels and monitoring.

Besides deciding on the quick response vehicles, the corporation has also constructed a trauma care centre and a helipad at Ozarde near the Talegaon toll booth and is looking for companies or assistance from the government to start operations. Simultaneously, it is also awaiting a nod from aviation authorities to operate air ambulances from the helipad.

The corporation is planning a similar trauma care centre towards the Mumbai side of the Expressway. Specialised wire ropes, that arrest the movement of wayward vehicles and prevent damage and mishaps, have been set up along a five-km accident-prone stretch of the Expressway, with the plan of installing this system at 15 other stretches where accidents are common.

- Source: indianexpress

Sion-Panvel highway: Amid raging row, an additional toll plan awaits nod

July 31, 2014

Written by Manasi Phadke | Mumbai |

Protests at the Kamothe toll plaza earlier this month
Protests at the Kamothe toll plaza earlier this month.


MSRDC proposed to expand Thane creek bridge by further securitising toll collection at Vashi toll booth.

 Even as there has been a major controversy surrounding toll collection on the recently refurbished Sion-Panvel highway, another road infrastructure project pending with the state government for approval proposes to levy toll on the same stretch.

The state government is currently looking at a proposal by the NCP-led Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for the expansion of the Thane creek bridge, which is steadily turning into a major bottleneck, especially after improvements to the 23-km Sion-Panvel highway.

The cash-strapped MSRDC has proposed to expand the Thane creek bridge by further securitising toll collection at the Vashi toll booth or by raising funds through bonds and recovering the finances via an add-on toll at the Vashi booth.

Mumbai Entry Point Ltd is already collecting toll at Vashi near the Thane creek bridge as part of the five entry points of Mumbai where the MSRDC has securitized toll collection for 16 years. Cars currently pay Rs 30 one way as toll, with the amount set to increase to Rs 35 from October this year as per the toll notification. If the MSRDC’s proposal of funding the Thane creek bridge expansion is accepted, the scheduled toll rates could increase or this user fee could continue for a longer period.

S M Ramchandani, joint managing director at the MSRDC, said, “The proposal is currently with the urban development department for its comments. From there, it will go to the planning department, finance and then the state cabinet.”

A senior state government official said the Public Works Department (PWD) had already given its remarks on the proposal saying there should not be any add-on toll, and the project should be funded with a government outlay.

Ramchandani said the issue over toll collection for the improvements to the Sion-Panvel highway would not have a bearing on the Thane creek bridge expansion project as the former entailed setting up of a new toll booth at Kamothe, while the latter would pertain to an existing toll booth.

The NCP-led PWD had undertaken the Sion-Panvel road improvement project on a build, operate, transfer basis with a concession period of 17 years and five months, including the three years of construction. However, following a shrill demand from all major political parties, especially leaders from the ruling Congress and NCP, the government has brought about a stay on this toll and constituted a chief secretary-led committee to study the issue.


Delhi-Agra parallel highways to compete for traffic

July 30, 2014

Even before Jaypee’s Yamuna Expressway was inaugurated, NHAI awarded R-Infra a project to upgrade the parallel NH-2, showing a lack of coordination between authorities

 Dev Chatterjee  |  

For the Jaypee Group, which built the 165-km expressway between      Delhi and Agra, the news Reliance Infrastructure would rebuild the    parallel national highway between the two cities came as a dampener.

Inaugurated in 2012, Yamuna Expressway is still struggling to make    money. It will be competing with National Highway-2 to attract traffic.   Jaypee had built the expressway for Rs 13,000 crore, with a concession period of 36 years. But even before the project was inaugurated, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) awarded Reliance a project to upgrade the parallel highway to six lanes, at a cost of Rs 1,900 crore.

Reliance has already started collecting toll on the highway; the project will be ready in the next two years. The 180-km Delhi-Agra highway is part of the ambitious golden quadrilateral project, connecting the four metros.

Analysts say the NHAI project will snatch traffic from the expressway, owing to its lower toll rate. “In the current environment of limited infrastructure funding availability, efficient resource allocation is the need of the hour to improve infrastructure. This is a classic example of lack of coordination between authorities at the state and the Centre,” says an analyst with Ambit Capital.

Analysts say infrastructure and industrial projects are planned independently, without considering the supporting logistical infrastructure needs of the project and without collective assessment of the impact on the environment by several projects in a particular area. The key concern is the lack of sound planning for large projects and the absence of coordination between ministries.

While Jaypee did not comment on queries sent by Business Standard, Reliance Infrastructure officials said while bidding for the project, they factored in the traffic diversion to Yamuna Expressway. However, the actual diversion was much lower than expected, they added.

Reliance officials say the toll rate at Yamuna Expressway is about 85 per cent higher than at National Highway-2, and this will lead to the national highway breaking-even faster. The officials added there was severe traffic congestion on the Delhi-Noida road leading to the Yamuna Expressway.

Compared to the national highway, Yamuna Expressway is an access-controlled road, with all exit points located far from villages, making travel to these areas long and difficult. Also, the quality of service roads connecting these villages was questionable, said a Reliance Infrastructure spokesperson. “Roads such as Yamuna Expressway have a tendency of users driving rashly, increasing the risk of accidents on the expressway, as observed on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Also, as National Highway-2 connects towns and villages, road users find this safer compared to Yamuna Expressway,” the spokesperson added.

Bankers say both projects are funded by public sector banks and if any of these turns sick, these banks will be asked to restructure the debt or takeover the project. They add to avoid duplication of work, each project should be meticulously planned from an engineering, financial, contractual, environmental and social perspective, along with inter-linkages and land acquisition before construction. “This will help save project developers, banks and the common public a lot of pain later,” says a city-based banker.

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