India’s highways to match US’s by 2024: Gadkari

India’s highway infrastructure will match that of the US by 2024, which is being worked on in time-bound “mission mode”, including building green expressways and railway bridges, said Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.

He said the cabinet’s nod to “Bharatmala 2” is likely to be soon and once received, it will meet the needs of robust infrastructure in the country.

“I’m confident that by 2024 India’s highways will match those of the US. In a time-bound mission mode, work is underway to build a robust infrastructure, including a network of green highways across the length and breadth of India,” Gadkari told PTI in the interview.

The Minister for Roads Transport and Motorways said railway bridges will be built this year at a cost of Rs 16,000 crore, rising to Rs 50,000 crore in five years.

Regarding the Kailash Mansarovar highway project via Pithoragarh, Gadkari said, “The work on the Kailash Mansarovar project is 93 percent complete.” With the completion of this project, the pilgrims of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can avoid the arduous trek through treacherous high terrain and cut the travel time by many days.

Currently, the journey to Kailash Mansarovar takes about two to three weeks via the routes from Sikkim or Nepal.

Regarding Bharatmala Phase 2, the minister said, “Bharatmala Phase 2 is likely to come soon, which will further accelerate the construction of highways.”

Bharatmala Pariyojana is India’s largest infrastructure program to develop approximately 35,000 km of National Highway corridors connecting over 580 districts in the country. The program signaled a paradigm shift to the corridor approach to infrastructure development.

The nation’s entire network has been reimagined through scientific studies, including an origin-destination study of cargo movements in 600 districts and directing crow flights for optimized routes to reduce transit time.

Regarding Bharatmala Phase 2, the minister said, “Bharatmala Phase 2 is likely to come soon, which will further accelerate the construction of highways.”

Bharatmala Pariyojana is India’s largest infrastructure program to develop approximately 35,000 km of National Highway corridors connecting over 580 districts in the country. The program signaled a paradigm shift to the corridor approach to infrastructure development.

The nation’s entire network has been reimagined through scientific studies, including an origin-destination study of cargo movements in 600 districts and directing crow flights for optimized routes to reduce transit time.

Likewise, the 635-km Raipur-Dhanbad Economic Corridor is being built at a cost of 15,000 rupees and would ensure faster transportation of coal, steel, cement and minerals, he said.

The other projects included a Rs.22,000 rupees Varanasi-Ranchi-Howrah 620 km access controlled green expressway and a Rs.6,300 rupees Ranchi-Sambalpur 230 km greenfield economic corridor.

Apart from this Varanasi-Chordaha (Jharkhand-Bihar border), the 6-lane 262 km economic corridor that will be built upon completion will provide excellent smooth connections from Jharkhand to Kolkata, Assam, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, he added added.

Other projects, the minister said, include the Rs 5,000 crore Ranchi Ring Road, adding that the detailed project report for this 194km highway will be finalized in May 2023.

This ring road will pass through Hazaribagh, Latehar, Lohardaga, Gumla, Khunti, Jamshedpur and Hazaribagh.

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