Earlier, the NHAI had set November 2021 as the deadline, but this had to be extended due to Covid second wave. Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday reviewed the projects and carried out an aerial survey across Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. He directed NHAI to expedite work and meet deadlines to bring relief to commuters and cargo carriers.
The under-construction Delhi-Mumbai expressway passes through Dausa, which is 60km from Jaipur. The NH-21 connects Dausa with Jaipur. “The total distance from Dhaula Kuan to Jaipur via Sohna and Dausa is around 270km and the distance is almost same if one travels by NH-8 (the current Delhi-Jaipur highway). But since the expressway is meant for only high-speed vehicles and one can travel at a maximum permitted speed of 120kmph, the travel time to Jaipur will reduce to three hours. So, commuters can save more than an hour using the expressway,” said an NHAI official.
On Thursday, Gadkari rode a car, which carried out a test drive at 120km on the Mumbai expressway in Ratlam stretch. “He checked the riding quality,” said an official accompanying the minister on the two-day review of the project.
Earlier in the day, the minister reiterated that the greenfield expressway, which will finally connect the DND flyway in Delhi with JNPT in Mumbai in 2023, will cut travel time by half. He said while cars can cover this stretch in 12-13 hours while for heavy vehicles, the total travel time would be 18-20 hours. “Now a truck takes 48 hours to reach Mumbai from Delhi. Just consider the fuel and time savings that the truck operators and goods carriers will have because of the expressway,” Gadkari said.
The minister said expressway would have helipads for immediate evacuation of road crash victims and also for operation of drones. The NHAI claimed that this would be one of the fastest built expressways in the world. “The 8-lane expressway can be expanded to 12 lanes to meet future requirements. We have left enough space in the median, which can be used for laying four more lanes,” said NHAI member Manoj Kumar.
The new expressway is expected to generate annual fuel savings of more than 320 million litres as well as reduce CO2 emissions by 850 million kg, according to the NHAI.