This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(February 2013)
The National Highways Development Project is a project to upgrade, rehabilitate and widen major highways in India to a higher standard. The project was implemented in 1998 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "National Highways" account for only about 2% of the total length of roads, but carry about 40% of the total traffic across the length and breadth of the country. This project is managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. The NHAI has invested US$71 billion for this project, as of 2006. The NHDP represents 49,260 km of roads and highways work and construction in order to boost economic development of the country.
Phase I: The Golden Quadrilateral (GQ; 5,846 km) connecting the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. This project connecting four metro cities, would be 5,846 km (3,633 mi). Total cost of the project is Rs.300 billion (US$6.8 billion), funded largely by the government’s special petroleum product tax revenues and government borrowing. In January 2012, India announced the four lane GQ highway network as complete.
Phase II: North-South and East-West corridors comprising national highways connecting four extreme points of the country. The North–South and East–West Corridor (NS-EW; 7,300 km) connecting Srinagar in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, including spur from Salem to Kanyakumari (Via Coimbatore and Kochi) and Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west. Total length of the network is 7,300 km (4,500 mi). As of April 2012, 84.26% of the project had been completed and 15.7% of the project work is currently at progress. It also includes Port connectivity and other projects — 1,157 km (719 mi). The final completion date to February 28, 2009 at a cost of Rs.350 billion (US$8 billion), with funding similar to Phase I.
Phase III: The government recently approved NHDP-III to upgrade 12,109 km (7,524 mi)of national highways on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, which takes into account high-density traffic, connectivity of state capitals via NHDP Phase I and II, and connectivity to centres of economic importance. Contracts have been awarded for a 2,075 km (1,289 mi).
Phase IV: The government is considering widening 20,000 km (12,000 mi) of highway that were not part of Phase I, II, or III. Phase IV will convert existing single lane highways into two lanes with paved shoulders. The plan will soon be presented to the government for approval.
Phase V: As road traffic increases over time, a number of four lane highways will need to be upgraded/expanded to six lanes. The current plan calls for upgrade of about 5,000 km (3,100 mi) of four-lane roads, although the government has not yet identified the stretches.
Phase VI: The government is working on constructing expressways that would connect major commercial and industrial townships. It has already identified 400 km (250 mi) of Vadodara (earlier Baroda)-Mumbai section that would connect to the existing Vadodara (earlier Baroda)-Ahmedabad section. The World Bank is studying this project. The project will be funded on BOT basis. The 334 km (208 mi) Expressway between Chennai—Bangalore and 277 km (172 mi) Expressway between Kolkata—Dhanbad has been identified and feasibility study and DPR contract has been awarded by NHAI.
Phase VII: This phase calls for improvements to city road networks by adding ring roads to enable easier connectivity with national highways to important cities. In addition, improvements will be made to stretches of national highways that require additional flyovers and bypasses given population and housing growth along the highways and increasing traffic. The government has not yet identified a firm investment plan for this phase. The 19 km (12 mi) long Chennai Port—Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway is being executed under this phase.
National Highways Development Project at a glance
Indicative cost ₹ ( in cr)
NHDP-I & II
Balance work of GQ and EW-NS corridors
13,000 km (8,100 mi)
10,000 km (6,200 mi)
20,000 km (12,000 mi)
6-laning of selected stretches
5,000 km (3,100 mi)
Development of expressways
1,000 km (620 mi)
Ring Roads, Bypasses, Grade Separators, Service Roads etc.
700 km (430 mi)
45,000 km (28,000 mi)
1,69,500 (Revised to 2,20,000)
Note: 1 crore= 10 million
Timeline of the National Highways Development Project