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In 2 Years, Drive From Delhi To Mumbai In Just 12 Hours | India News

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NEW DELHI: Giant machines hum as they pave the country’s longest highway connecting the national capital to the financial capital Mumbai. When it opens in two years, the 1,350km Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will bring two meters closer in 12 hours.
In the nondescript town of Lohtaki, Haryana, on the Delhi-Dausa stretch, work is progressing at a dizzying pace. Technicians toil in the scorching sun, putting the finishing touches on bridges and culverts. Trucks loaded with dirt make their way to lay the foundation for the Rs 90,000 highway that will cross five states: Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

In 2 Years, Drive From Delhi To Mumbai In Just 12 Hours | India News

The urgency of workers and engineers facing frequent dust storms is palpable. The first phase from Delhi to Lalsot, 30 km ahead of Dausa, is scheduled to open on December 21 and the entire highway in January 2023.
Many firsts
The eight-lane highway has many new features under its belt. The entire section will have two-meter walls on both sides to prevent animals and pedestrians from entering. Enough space has been left on both sides to allow expansion to 12 lanes.
This will be the first highway in Asia to have animal flyovers where it passes through wildlife sanctuaries. There is also the country’s first eight-lane tunnel at the Mukundra sanctuary to minimize the impact of passing traffic at speeds of up to 120 km / h.
Two million trees and shrubs, irrigated with drip irrigation, will be planted along the entire stretch, while parts of the highway will be illuminated with a combination of power supply from state grids and solar power.
The NHAI is labeling it a “green road” and will attract school children to drive through the plantations along the route. A proposal is under discussion to prioritize green fuel stations, including hydrogen fuel pumps.
The highway will have roadside services such as resorts, restaurants, food courts and gas stations at 93 locations. It will also be the first highway in the country to have fully equipped helipads and trauma centers for accident victims.
“He is a lifesaver for the country and I am proud to be associated with him,” says Suresh Kumar, NHAI’s project manager, in his office, where a giant blackboard shows the various milestones that need to be achieved. Kumar, who had suffered a paralytic stroke, works 16 hours a day with his team to follow the progress of the five sections that have been entrusted to him.
A megaproject
The scale of the project can be measured by the fact that it will consume five lakh tons of steel and 35 lakhs of cement, in addition to the 50 crore cubic meters of earth used to lay its foundation. It will also create 19,000 man-years of employment.
Since work began on September 5, 2019, crews have been deployed to accelerate the acquisition of the remaining portion of land and map out the exact alignment of the route. The highway is expected to save more than 320 million liters of fuel each year.
“All aspects of the project, from the selection of the alignment and the technology of the pavement to the mode of the contracts, have been carefully thought out. The main challenge was the acquisition of 15,000 hectares of land, which is 90% done, ”said Manoj Kumar, a member of the NHAI and in charge of expressways. “Now the focus … is real-time monitoring and decision-making.”
Eye in the sky
The work was divided into small packages (sections) to speed up construction and allow the participation of medium-sized construction companies. For example, the Delhi-Vadodara segment has been divided into 31 packages assigned to various companies. Package 3 in Haryana is 74% complete and Package 6 in Rajasthan is 70% complete.
Suresh Kumar remembers all the bureaucracy they had to go through to change high-voltage power lines, environmental clearances, underground inspections, acquire land, compensate farmers, and finalize contracts to extract land from adjacent fields for use on the highway. “We did the land acquisition in record time. The amount of compensation to farmers was transferred digitally and not a single check was issued to anyone, ”he said.
The land acquisition is pending in two tranches in Gujarat, but officials say they expect to obtain the entire land in two months. “We have January 2023 as the deadline for the entire stretch and there will be no commitment,” said an official.
Officials are mapping the highway’s work with drones. “We are monitoring all aspects of construction, including construction quality, planting, and roadside amenities. The monthly drone videos are also used for monitoring, in addition to the ‘data lake’ portal and other means, ”said NHAI President SS Sandhu.

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