Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the newly-built Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Eastern Peripheral Expressway and embarked on a roadshow in an open SUV to mark the occasion.
The prime minister's roadshow commenced from the Nizamuddin Bridge, the start of the about 9-kilometres-long first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway. After travelling for six kilometres on the stretch, Modi flew to Baghpat to inaugurate India's first smart and green highway, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), built at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore.
Here's all you need to know about the two newly-built expressways:
Union minister Gadkari on Friday had said the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, built at a cost of Rs 841 crore has vertical gardens with a solar power system on the Yamuna Bridge of the expressway.
The aim of the expressway is to reduce travel time from Delhi to Meerut to 45 minutes from the present about 4-5 hours. The scheduled time period for the construction of the project was 30 months whereas it has been completed in 17 months, Gadkari said. The foundation stone for the project was laid down by Modi on 31 December, 2015.
Gadkari also said that a cycle track of 2.5 metres wide has been constructed on both the sides of the expressway, which also has the provision of 1.5 metre-wide footpath on each side for pedestrians. It is reportedly also the first expressway to have dedicated bicycle tracks on a nearly 28-kilometres-long stretch between Delhi and Dasna.
The first phase of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway is expected to provide a major relief to those commuting between Delhi and Noida. It starts from Nizamuddin Bridge in Delhi and goes on til the Uttar Pradesh border. The total length of the project is 82 kilometres, of which the first 27.74 kilometres will be 14-laned, while the rest will be a 6-lane expressway. The project is likely to cost Rs 4,975.17 crore, according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. However, News18 put the total cost of the project to be around Rs 7,000 crore.
The project involves construction of 11 flyovers/interchanges, five major and 24 minor bridges, three ROBs (rail over bridges), 36 vehicular and 14 pedestrian underpasses. It will also have an elevated section of 5.91 kilometres.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway
Built at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore, the 135-kilometre-long Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), has several unique features and is India's first highway to be lit by solar power besides having provisions of rainwater harvesting on every 500 metres on both sides and would showcase 36 national monuments and 40 fountains.
According to Gadkari, it was completed in a record 500 days. The foundation stone of the greenfield project was laid by Modi on 5 November, 2015.
There are eight solar power plants on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway having a capacity of 4,000 kilowatts (4 MW), the minister said.
The state-of-the-art road will have auto challans for over-speeding, as cameras will capture speed of vehicles. It will also have provisions of tolling only for the distance travelled, the minister said adding, the expressway has an iconic toll plaza at the entry point on Kundli side besides having a digital art gallery.
Gadkari also said that the EPE is equipped with smart and intelligent highway traffic management system (HTMS) and video incident detection system (VIDS) and will set a benchmark in highway construction by being environment-friendly with world-class safety features and smart/interactive infrastructure.
The Union minister also said 2.5 lakh trees have been planted including transplant of 8-10-year-old trees. Drip irrigation provision has also been done.
The construction process consumed 11 lakh tonnes of cement, 1 lakh tonnes of steel, 3.6 crore cum earthwork and 1.2 crore cum fly-ash, while generating employment opportunities of about 50 lakh man-days and deployment of 9,375 manpower.
A lot of traffic, outbound or non-destined for Delhi will be diverted, Gadkari said adding at least 50,000 vehicles going to Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will be diverted, bringing down vehicular pollution.
The alignment of EPE starts near Kundli and passes through six parliamentary constituencies, namely Sonepat, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad, and Palwal.
The fully access-controlled six-lane expressway provides entry and exit designated interchanges only and has 406 structures of which four are major bridges, 46 minor bridges, three flyovers, seven inter-changes, 221 underpasses and eight road-over-bridges (ROBs).
The amenities include retail fuel outlets, restrooms, motels, restaurants, shops, etc. Some of the monuments' replicas pertain to Ashoka Lion, Ashoka Chakra, Konark Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Gateway of India, Qutab Minar, Char Minar, Lal Quila, Kirti Stambh, India Gate, Hawa Mahal and Gujarat Carving.
The project had earlier faced resistance from farmers over land and other issues which have since been solved by giving higher compensation.
The Supreme Court on 10 May had directed the NHAI to throw open the Eastern Peripheral Expressway for the public by 31 May, asking why were they "waiting" for its inauguration by the prime minister. The apex court had said if the 135-kilometre-long expressway, which envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal, is not inaugurated on or before 31 May, it should be thrown open for the public who were facing traffic congestion in Delhi.
The Eastern and the Western Peripheral Expressways were planned in 2006 following the apex court's order to build a ring road outside the national capital for channelling the traffic not bound for Delhi.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: May 27, 2018 20:26 PM