An expressway is a controlled-access highway; it is a highway that controls entrances to it and exits from it by incorporating the design of the slip roads for entry and exit into the design of the highway itself. Access-control should not be confused with collection of toll. An expressway may be free to use and may not collect toll at all. Expressways are the highest class of roads in the Indian Road Network. These are six- or eight-lane highways with controlled-access. India has approximately 942 km expressways.
National Highway system of India consists of approximately 10,000 km (6,200 mi) of four-laned highways that collect toll from users but do not have control of access and cannot be called expressways. Currently, a massive project is underway to expand the highway network and the Government of India plans to add an additional 18,637 km (11,580 mi) of expressways to the network by the year 2022. These roads will be access-controlled roads and will feature between four and six lanes with 3,530 km (2,190 mi) km to come up by 2015. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is already in the process of preparing a draft for creation of a National Expressways Authority of India (NEAI) on the lines of NHAI.
This list includes roads without access-control. Such a road cannot be called "expressway" though the name of the road may include the word "expressway" and may be a misnomer. Such a road should be excluded from this list. Eastern and Western Express Highways in Mumbai are two examples of such roads. Ambala-Chandigarh NH is another such example as it does not have access control for entry and exit at predetermined points. As stated above, access-control is different from collection of toll.
- Ambala Chandigarh Expressway The Ambala Chandigarh Expressway is four-lane 35 km long, high-traffic density corridor of Ambala-Chandigarh section (km 5.735 to km 39.960 on NH-22 and 0 km to 0.871 km on NH 21) on BOT basis, was completed in 30 months at a cost of 298 crore (US$55 million) The expressway has been operational since December 2009 and was constructed by the GMR Group with assistance from the World Bank.
- Mumbai Pune Expressway The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is India's first six-lane, concrete, high-speed, tolled, access-controlled, 93 km (58 mi) long expressway. It connects Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, to the neighbouring educational and information technology-oriented city of Pune. With its smoothly paved concrete construction, this highway is unlike most other roads in India. This expressway offers a scenic drive between Mumbai and Pune and reduced the travel time between these two commercially important cities from 4–5 hours on the old NH4 to 2–3 hours.
- Highway features
- 6-lane concrete highway with 7m-wide divider. An extra lane provided on each side as a hard shoulder.
- Separate tunnels for traffic in each direction.
- Complete fencing to avoid humans and animals crossing the expressway.
- No two-wheelers, three-wheelers or tractor vehicles allowed.
- Provision of petrol pumps, motels, workshops, toilets, emergency phones, first aid, breakdown vans, etc.
- Proposed planting of 80,000 trees along the Expressway.
- Highway features
- Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway is also known as National Expressway 1 (India). It was originally planned during the 1970s, but was delayed for decades due to land-usage and political issues. These issues were resolved in the 1990s, and the expressway opened in 2004. The expressway cuts the journey between the two cities to less than 1-hour. This expressway was India's first four-lane expressway project, and includes minor bridges and canal crossings, interchanges at Nadiad and Anand, cross-drainage works, rest areas, and related structures, for a length of 95 km (59 mi).
- Mumbai Nashik Expressway is a 6-lane (extendable to 8 lanes), 150 km (93 mi) km long, expressway connecting Mumbai to Nashik.  The total cost of the project is 40 billion (US$728 million).  At the time when this project was awarded, it was the largest BOT road project in India. The project involves increasing the number of lanes on the 99.5 km Vadape-Gonde (Mumbai-Nasik) section of the National Highway-3 to four. It also includes an elevated corridor at Nashik, The Pimpalgaon-Nasik-Gonde road project will serve Nashik with a 6 km long elevated corridor, seven flyovers, two major bridges, six vehicular under passes, six pedestrian under passes and a subway. The project is a part of the Mumbai-Agra National Highway-3 route. The seven flyovers will ensure smooth flow of traffic towards Mumbai as well as Agra. The flyover at Pathardi will be India's longest integrated flyover. Once the construction of the elevated corridor is complete, Nashik will get India's first externally strutted segmental box girder.
- Yamuna Expressway is a 6-lane (extendable to 8 lanes), 165 km (103 mi) km long, controlled-access expressway, connecting Greater Noida with Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is India's longest six-laned controlled-access expressway stretch.
- Jaipur Kishangarh Expressway is 90 km (56 mi) km (56 mi) long and part of six-lane NH8.
- Durgapur Expressway is 65 km (40 mi) long, linking Dankuni with Memari on Grand Trunk Road, now allows fast communication between Kolkata and Durgapur.
- Mumbai Nashik Expressway will be 150 km (93 mi) long and one of the most important gateways – Mumbai to Northern, Central and Eastern part of India As of 18-July-2011 the project was completed 64 km
- Nagpur–Aurangabad–Mumbai expressway This highway is a project connecting two major cities Nagpur & Aurangabad in Maharashtra to the capital city of Mumbai via the same link-route and in less than the distance covered by the NH 6. The new road theoretically saves 65 km distance between the two cities and the travel time of nearly one-and-half hours. Though said so, ironically, if developed with 4 lane basis, as declared earlier by the State Public Works Dept., this highway can save more than 8 hrs of time between Nagpur and Mumbai, as compared to NH 6.Though approved on 23 Dec 1999, its major development started in late 2002 and it is now completed almost 60%, by the end of 2011. The Aurangabad – Mumbai sector is already started with full flow of traffic, while the Nagpur – Aurangabad sector is still under construction and expected to be completed soon (by the end of 2015 ). It is expected to share the major direct road traffic between these cities, including almost 30–40% of traffic from NH 6. Proposed expressway alignment is Nagpur – (via NH7) – Butibori – (via MSH3 / NH204) – Wardha – Pulgaon – Talegaon(S) – Karanja Lad – Malegaon(Washim) –Mehkar – Sindhkhedraja – Jalna – Aurangabad – Vaijapur – Sawantsar – Pun-tamba – Zagade – Sinnar – Ghoti – (via NH 3) – Kalyan – Mumbai.
- Kundli Manesar Palwal Expressway(KMP) Delhi Western Peripheral Expressway, also known as the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway, will act as a bypass for vehicles transiting Delhi and relieve Delhi of congestion of heavy night traffic. It takes off from NH1 at Kundli (Haryana), crosses NH1, NH10, NH8 and SH57 and meets NH-2 beyond Palwal. Cloverleaf flyovers are being proposed at places where the expressway crosses national highways. The construction of the six-lane 135.6 km (84.3 mi) long road is progressing at a snail's pace. The construction started in 2007 and was expected to be completed by June 2009 but is not likely to be over before 2012.
- Delhi Eastern Peripheral Expressway It will have two six-lane sections: 49 km (30 mi) long Kundli-Ghaziabad section and 56 km (35 mi) long Ghaziabad—NOIDA-Palwal section. It will take off from NH1 at 36.1 km stone at Kundli (Haryana), cross Yamuna river near Mawikalan and Hindon river near Sharfabad (both in Baghpat district, U.P.), NH-58 near Duhai, NH-24 near Dasna, NH-91 near Beel Akbarpur, again cross Yamuna near Fajjupur Khadar and meet NH-2 beyond Palwal at km 64.33 stone. The construction has not started. No contractor has been finalised.
- Pathankot Ajmer Expressway – Expressway will begin from Pathankot in Punjab and pass through Haryana and end at the Holy city of Ajmer in Rajasthan. The total length of this expressway is 600 km (372.82 mi)
- Ganga Expressway – This project was announced in 2007 by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. At 1,047 km (651 mi), it will be India's longest expressway. It will link Noida, on Uttar Pradesh's western border with Delhi to Ballia, on Uttar Pradesh's eastern border with Bihar. The expressway will run along the left bank of the Ganges river, in contrast to the Grand Trunk Road which is on the right bank. The expected cost is 400 billion (US$6.1 billion). This expressway should reduce the travel time between Delhi and Varanasi to 8 hours. The project is expected to be completed in 2011. Private firms have shown their interest in the Ganga Expressway as twenty companies have placed their bids for this project.
- Upper Ganga Canal Expressway The eight-lane 150 km (93 mi)-long Upper Ganga Canal Expressway, popularly known as the Hindon Expressway, will stretch from Noida to Hardwar through Muzaffarnagar and Roorkee.
- Agra Lucknow Expressway is an expressway scheduled to be constructed between the cities of Agra and Lucknow. Its cost of project is expected to be 10500 crore (US$1.6 billion). It would cut travel time between Lucknow and Agra from 6 hours to 3:30 hours.
- Mumbai Vadodara Expressway is an expressway scheduled to be constructed between the cities of Vadodara (Gujarat) and Mumbai (Maharashtra). Its cost of the project is expected to be 66.72 billion (US$1.0 billion). The expressway will be about 380 km long. It will be built as part of the Golden Quadrilateral Project by NHAI.
- Chennai Outer Ring Road is a second Chennai ring to complement the existing facility.
- Shimla Chandigarh Expressway s a proposed 120 kilometres long expressway connecting Chandigarh to Shimla.
NHAI has proposed the following two Expressways in the NHDP VI.
The Uttar Pradesh government is planning five more expressways in the state. The five proposed expressways will have a combined length of around 750 km (470 mi).
The five expressways would be
- Greater Noida-Saharanpur-Dehradun expressway (in partnership with the Uttarakhand state government)
- Farrukhabad-Kotdwar expressway.
- Delhi-Meerut expressway.
- Chennai HSCTC
- Chennai Elevated Expressways
- Bhopal - Indore expressway
Intra-city expressways (access-controlled Bypasses, Ring roads and Elevated Roads)
- Delhi Gurgaon Expressway – This eight-lane expressway opened in January 2008 and is part of Golden Quadrilateral highway project. It is 28 km (17 mi) long and was expected to reduce travel time between Gurgaon and Delhi from upwards of 60 minutes to approximately 20 minutes. However, long queues of vehicles at toll plaza have reduced the efficacy of the expressway. Some special features of this expressway are SOS telephones every 1.5 km, CCTV surviliance and a 32-lane toll plaza at the Delhi-Haryana border. The expressway starts near the domestic terminal of the airport at Palam, has an exit for the international airport and ends beyond Gurgaon where it joins the six-lane NH8 after the toll plaza.
- Noida Greater Noida Expressway connects Noida, a residential and industrial suburb of Delhi to Greater Noida, a still newer suburb. The total length of the expressway is 24.53 km (15.24 mi). It is under expansion to Taj Economic Zone, International Airport and Aviation Hub proposed to be constructed along the Taj Expressway. The objectives of the proposed expressway are as follows:
- Highway features
- To provide a fast moving corridor to minimize the travel time
- To connect the main town ships / commercial centers on the Eastern site of river Yamuna
- To ensure development of adjoining area
- To relieve pressure on NH2 that is already congested and runs through the heart of cities like Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and Palwal.
- Highway features
- Delhi Noida Direct Flyway is an eight-lane, 9.2 km (5.7 mi) km access controlled tolled expressway which connects Delhi with Noida. It was built under a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model. The project included the construction of a flyover at Ashram Chowk. The other major part of the project was the construction of a 552.5 m (1,813 ft) bridge over the Yamuna river. This bridge, which was estimated to cost 4.08 billion (US$62.4 million).
- Belghoria Expressway through Nivedita Bridge is completed Dum Dum Airport will be 20–25 minutes from Dankuni.
- Panipat Elevated Expressway six-lane 10 km (6.2 mi) expressway is expected to decongest the busy Delhi-Amritsar route. The Panipat Expressway is an uplift of National Highway 1.
- Kona Expressway is 8 km (5.0 mi) long and serves as cut-offs and provides easier access to Kolkata from NH-2.
- Hyderabad Elevated Expressways – The PVNR Expressway has been opened for traffic at the end points on 2009-10-19. The 11.6 km (7.2 mi) is the India's longest flyover that connects Mehdipatnam in the city to Aramgarh Junction on the National Highway-7 leading to the Hyderabad International Airport at Shamshabad
- Hosur Road Elevated Expressway – is a 9.985 km (6.204 mi) kilometres (6 mi) long elevated, tolled, access controlled expressway in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. The project is a part of the BETL (Bangalore Elevated Tollways Ltd), project as part of the National Highways Development Project and the Elevated Highways Project. It was initiated in early 2006, and was inaugurated on 22 January 2010.
- Chennai Bypass Expressway is a fully access-controlled expressway that interconnects four radial Indian National Highways around Chennai, India covering a distance of 32 km (20 mi). Constructed as part of the National Highway Development Project to decongest the city of transiting vehicles, the expressway interconnects NH45, NH4, NH205 and NH5. This expressway now forms a part of the circular transportation corridor.
- Western Freeway Mumbai is an ambitious project to connect the suburbs of Mumbai with downtown Mumbai. The project envisions the setting up of multiple flyovers over the Arabian Sea. The first phase of the project, known as the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, is complete, and links Bandra in the north with Worli to the south with a cable stayed bridge spanning the Mahim Bay. This development shall relieve the congestion on the Mahim Causeway, which up until now has been the only road connection between the suburbs and the main city of Mumbai on the western sea front. Toll will be Rs.50(one way),Rs.75(two way) for cars and Rs.100 for heavy vehicles.
- Eastern Freeway Mumbai project (EFP) to provide a direct link to the Eastern Express Highway and south Mumbai. The Eastern Freeway will be a 22 km (14 mi) high-speed corridor from Prince of Wales Museum up to Eastern Express Highway at Wadala through 12 km (7.5 mi) of relatively less-congested roads of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) area. Of this, 9 km (5.6 mi) will be elevated. The expressway will drastically reduce travel time between Colaba in South Mumbai and the eastern suburbs like Ghatkopar and Mulund. Work on this freeway started in January 2008 and is scheduled to complete in five years.
- Chennai Port - Maduravoyal Expressway The Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Expressway is a proposed 19 kilometres (12 mi) elevated expressway in the city of Chennai, India. The corridor begins at Chennai Port Gate no. 10 and travels along the bank of the Cooum River till it reaches Koyambedu and along the median of NH4 thereon till it reaches Maduravoyal.
Indian National Expressways Network
India has the third-largest road network in the world spanning 4.69 million km, next in line only to the US and China. However, when it comes to the quality of roads, India lags far behind. Compared to the length of expressways in leading countries, China (84,946 km), the US (75,238 km), Canada (17,000 km), Spain (15,152 km) and Germany (12,800 km), India’s progress in the road sector seems dwarfed at just 200 km.
On an overall basis also, highways constitute only a 1.7 per cent share at 79,116 km.
Given the importance of expressways, the Government of India had approved the construction of 1,000 km of expressways under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase VI.
Besides, the ministry came up with a project report to formulate a master plan aiming to construct 15,600 km by 2022, marking the end of the 13th five year plan.
Given the current precarious economic conditions, constructing expressways through the EPC route seems to be the most pragmatic approach. The government can raise long-term debt through bonds or low-cost foreign loans from multi-lateral and bilateral institutions while revenue can be generated by charging tolls from vehicles at entry and exit points.
Also, as witnessed in other countries, state governments should be urged to increase contribution toward these projects, as they will be the key beneficiaries of expressways.
Another way to expedite the process could be that the government could develop the first 50–100 km of the expressway to attract private developers, a model being followed by Jaipur metro.
Once traffic picks up on the expressway, developers could construct the remaining length and be allowed to charge toll on the entire length.
If India needs to achieve the next level in highway development, it has to focus on transit efficiency. For this, the country will have to increase reliance on public funding and shift focus from PPP.
It could also opt for innovative financial models, as suggested above, to make expressway construction a viable business in the country.
References and notes
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- Ashutosh Kumar. "Expressway cost pegged at Rs20 crore/km". Daily News and Analysis. DNA.
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- Ahmedabad-Baroda expressway
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- "Business Portal of India : Investment Opportunities and Incentives : State Level Investment : West Bengal : Infrastructure". Business.gov.in. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
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