Highway map of India with the Golden Quadrilateral highlighted in solid blue colour
|Maintained by NHAI|
|Length:||5,846 km (3,633 mi)|
|Delhi – Kolkata|
|Length:||1,453 km (903 mi)|
|Delhi – Mumbai|
|Length:||1,419 km (882 mi)|
|NH 8, NH 79A, NH 79, NH 76|
|Mumbai – Chennai|
|Length:||1,290 km (800 mi)|
|NH 44, NH 48|
|Chennai – Kolkata|
|Length:||1,684 km (1,046 mi)|
|NH 6, NH 60, NH 5|
The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting many of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, and hence its name. Other metropolises also connected by the network are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Nellore, Vijayawada and Vishakapatnam.
The largest highway project in India and the fifth longest in the world, started by NDA Government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee it is the first phase of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), and consists of building 5,846 km (3,633 mi) four/six lane express highways at a cost of ₹600 billion (US$9.3 billion). The project was launched in 2001 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee under the NDA government, and was completed in 2012.
The vast majority of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) is not access controlled, although safety features such as guardrails, shoulders, and high-visibility signs are in use.
The GQ project is managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the first controlled-access toll road to be built in India is a part of the GQ Project as it was not funded by NHAI, and separate from the main highway. Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) has been one of the major contributors to the infrastructural development activity in the GQ project. It is a project that came in 1999 and initiated in 2001 by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was projected to connect four metropolitan cities of India: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The project consisted of constructing four and six-lane express highways. The project was planned to be completed by 2006 but due to delays (like land acquisition, awarding contracts, zoning challenges, and funding problems) it got completed in 2012. One of achievements of the previous NDA government is the 5846-km Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) highway. It is designated as one of the longest highways in the world. It is basically a network of highways that connect the four major metropolitan cities of the country in four directions – Delhi (North), Chennai (South), Kolkata (East) and Mumbai (West) – thereby forming a quadrilateral, and hence the name Golden Quadrilateral.
Launched in 2001, this was the largest highway and a very ambitious project. The project, which was undertaken by the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) and managed by National Highways Authority of India (N.H.A.I), was launched by the then prime minister Atal Behari Vaijpayee. The planning for the project was completed in 1999 but the construction work officially started in 2001. Though it was estimated to be completed by 2006, it actually became operational in January 2012. The Golden Quadrilateral project included construction of new express highways, including renovation and extension of the existing highways to four or six lanes.
Major cities covered under Golden Quadrilateral highway
The Golden Quadrilateral provides efficient transportation links between major cities of India, like New Delhi; Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer (Rajasthan); Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar (Gujarat); Mathura, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh); Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra); Bangalore (Karnataka); Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh); Chennai (Tamil Nadu); Bhubaneswar (Orissa) Kolkata (West Bengal) etc.
The four sections of the Golden Quadrilateral
Section I: This covers National Highway 2 (NH2) from Delhi to Kolkata. Total stretch is 1454 km. States covered are Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Major cities include Delhi, Mathura, Faridabad, Agra, Allahabad, Firozabad, Kanpur and Varanasi.
Section II: This covers NH6 from Kolkata to Chennai, NH60 (Kharagpur to Balasore) and NH5 (Balasore to Chennai). Total stretch is 1684km. States include West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
Section III: Total stretch is 1,290km. It covers parts of NH4 (Mumbai to Bangalore), NH7 (Bangalore to Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu) and NH46 (Krishnagiri to nearby Chennai). States include Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Section IV: Covering parts of NH 8 (Delhi to Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad to Chittaurgarh) and NH 76 (Chittaurgarh to Udaipur), the stretch is 1,419km. States include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and New Delhi. Major cities connected are Delhi, Ajmer, Udaipur, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. Major highlights of the Golden Quadrilateral
It is the largest highway project completed in India. It is the fifth longest highway project in the world. The overall length of the Golden quadrilateral is 5,846km. The Golden Quadrilateral passes through 13 states of India. The Golden Quadrilateral constitutes only the national highways of the country and not state highways and rural-urban roadways. The project was estimated to cost INR600bn but was one such project which was completed at about half of the estimated costs at INR308.58bn. Benefits for the country
Provides faster transport networks between major cities and ports Provides connectivity to major agricultural, industrial, and cultural centres of India Provides smoother movement of goods and people within the country Enables industrial development and job creation in smaller towns through access to varied markets Farmers are able to transport their produce to major cities and towns for sale and export, and there is less wastage and spoils. More economic growth through construction and indirect demand for steel, cement, and other construction materials Giving an impetus to truck transport
History and costs
India's government had initially estimated that the Golden Quadrilateral project would cost ₹600 billion (US$9.3 billion) at 1999 prices. However, the highway has been built under-budget. As of August 2011, cost incurred by Indian government was about half of initial estimate, at ₹308.58 billion (US$4.8 billion). The eight contracts in progress, as of August 2011, were worth ₹16.34 billion (US$250 million).
In September 2009, it was announced that the existing four-laned highways would be converted into six-lane highways. The expansion project was reported at various stages to be behind schedule, mainly due to land acquisition constraints and disputes with contractors which had to be re-negotiated.
Sections of NH 2, NH 5 and NH 8 have now been prioritized for further widening to six lanes under DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) pattern and more sections would be six-laned in the near future. On NH 8 six-lane work is completed from Vadodara to Surat.
The projected economic benefits of the GQ project are -
- Establishing faster transport networks between major cities and ports.
- Providing an impetus to smoother movement of products and people within India.
- Enabling industrial and job development in smaller towns through access to markets.
- Providing opportunities for farmers, through better transportation of produce from the agricultural hinterland to major cities and ports for export, through lesser wastage and spoils.
- Driving economic growth directly, through construction as well as through indirect demand for cement, steel and other construction materials.
- Giving an impetus to Truck transport throughout India.
Only National Highways are used in the Golden Quadrilateral. The four legs use the following National Highways (Old Numbering System):
- Delhi – Kolkata: NH 2
- Delhi – Mumbai: NH 8 (Delhi – Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad – Chittaurgarh), NH 76 (Chittaurgarh – Udaipur), NH 8 (Udaipur – Mumbai)
- Mumbai – Chennai (New Numbering System): NH 48 (Mumbai – Bengaluru), NH 44 (Bengaluru – Krishnagiri), NH 48 (Krishnagiri – Walajapet), NH 48 (Walajapet – Chennai)
- Kolkata – Chennai: NH 5 (Kolkata – Kharagpur), NH 60 (Kharagpur – Balasore), NH 5 (Balasore – Chennai)
Important cities connected by Golden Quadrilateral highway
|Delhi – Kolkata||Kolkata – Chennai||Chennai – Mumbai||Mumbai – Delhi|
|No.||Segment||Length Completed||Total Length||Percent Completed (%)||As of (date)||Source|
|1.||Delhi-Kolkata||1,453 km (903 mi)||1,453 km (903 mi)||100||31 August 2011|||
|2.||Chennai-Mumbai||1,290 km (800 mi)||1,290 km (800 mi)||100||31 August 2011|||
|3.||Kolkata-Chennai||1,684 km (1,046 mi)||1,684 km (1,046 mi)||100||31 May 2013|||
|4.||Mumbai-Delhi||1,419 km (882 mi)||1,419 km (882 mi)||100||31 August 2011|||
|Total||5,846 km (3,633 mi)||5,846 km (3,633 mi)||100||31 May 2013|||
Length in each state
The completed Golden Quadrilateral passes through 13 states:
- Andhra Pradesh – 1,014 km (630 mi)
- Uttar Pradesh – 756 km (470 mi)
- Rajasthan – 725 km (450 mi)
- Karnataka – 623 km (387 mi)
- Maharashtra – 487 km (303 mi)
- Gujarat – 485 km (301 mi)
- Odisha – 440 km (270 mi)
- West Bengal – 406 km (252 mi)
- Tamil Nadu – 342 km (213 mi)
- Bihar – 204 km (127 mi)
- Jharkhand – 192 km (119 mi)
- Haryana – 152 km (94 mi)
- Delhi – 25 km (16 mi)
- Total – 5,846 km (3,633 mi)
In August 2003, Jharkhand-based project director Satyendra Dubey, in a letter to the Prime Minister, outlined a list of malafide actions in a segment of a highway in Bihar. Dubey's claims included that big contractors had inside information from NHAI officials, that the contractors for this stretch were not executing the project themselves (as stipulated in the contract) but subcontracting the work to small builders who lacked technical expertise and that no follow-up was performed after awarding advances. Dubey's name was leaked by the PMO to the NHAI, and he was transferred against his wishes to Gaya, Bihar, where he was murdered on 27 November.
The NHAI eventually admitted that Dubey's charges were substantiated, and implemented "radical reforms" in selection and contract procedures. After a lengthy CBI investigation, Mantu Kumar and three accomplices were arrested and charged with murder. Mantu escaped from court on 19 September 2005, but was recaptured a month later. In 2010, Mantu and two others were convicted of murder and other offenses and sentenced to life in prison.
In February 2006, a 600-meter stretch of the highway connecting Kolkata to Chennai subsided into the ground, opening up ten meter gorges near Bally, West Bengal. This stretch had been completed a year back by a Malaysian multinational firm, selected after global tendering.
In September'2015, a team of Ajay Jagga, Gopal Krishan Sharma and Karan Vaid circumnavigated the Golden Quadrilateral on a Ford's 4-wheeler in 76 hours and 19 minutes, covering 5,907 km (3,670 mi). This expedition has been registered with Limca Book of Records.
In 2013, Arnob Gupta and Revanth, also known as the Flying Doctors, traversed the 5,997 km (3,726 mi) long Golden Quadrilateral in 92 hours and 30 minutes on a two-wheeler (Honda CBR-250).
- Diamond Quadrilateral
- List of National Highways in India by highway number
- List of National Highways in India
- National Highways Development Project
- North-South and East-West Corridor
- Transport in India
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 2013-07-23. Road network-Source-The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
- Golden Quadrilateral Highway Network. Road Traffic Technology (2011-06-15). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
- "Building India's National Pride: The Golden Quadrilateral".
- "Govt declares Golden Quadrilateral complete". The Indian Express. 7 January 2012.
- "National Highways Development Project Map". National Highways Institute of India.
- "Contractors take the sheen off Golden Quadrilateral". The Financial Express. 3 August 2011.
- Megha Bahree (21 September 2009). "Ambassador: Indian Economy Will Grow". Forbes.
- "Golden Quadrilateral still has miles to go". Financial Express.
- R.N. Bhaskar. "Crossing the chasm". Forbes India.
- "Hosur-Krishnagiri road project goes to R-Infra". New Delhi: The Hindu. 21 May 2010. p. 1. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
-  Bihar govt wakes up to IITian's murder-Source-Rediff News
-  NHAI report to CBI proves Dubey right, contract rules being rewritten-Source-Indian Express
-  Whistleblower in the 2004 National Highway Authority of India case escaped from police custody on Tuesday in Patna-Source-Rediff News
-  Satyendranath Dubey killers get life imprisonment-Source-Oneindia.com
-  GQ: Howrah highway stretch caves in-Source-Indian Express]
- 'Mile by Mile, India Paves a Smoother Future' – extremely detailed New York Times article, dated 4 December 2005 (free registration required)
- "Golden Quadrilateral still has miles to go" – Financial Express article dated 26 August 2005
- Official website of the National Highways Authority of India
- Map of GQ progress on the NHAI website
- Ministry of Road Transport