Gadkari reviews progress of Delhi-Mumbai Expressway

Sohna/ Dausa/Ratnam: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday reviewed the progress of Delhi-Mumbai Expressway (DME), which is expected to halve the commute time between the national capital and the nation’s financial hub from nearly 24 hours to 12 hours.

The eight-lane expressway will cover Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

Gadkari also said that to reduce traffic jam problem and air pollution problem in Delhi-NCR, the road ministry is working on 15 projects worth Rs 53,000 crore.

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Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh were also present at the event.

Calling the DME a matter of pride, the minister said the expressway will be the longest in India.

Replying to a question about toll taxes making travel costly on national highways, Gadkari said, “If you want good services, you have to pay for it. If one wants to conduct a programme in an air-conditioned hall, one will have to pay the rent (kiraya). Otherwise, a wedding can be conducted in a field for free as well.”

While the minimum speed limit for vehicles on the expressway will be 100 km/hour, Gadkari said the road ministry is thinking of increasing it to 120 km/hour in future.

The minister said the government may consider adding four more lanes in the eight-lane expressway in the future, if traffic increases.

On high petrol and diesel prices, the minister said the farmers of this country will provide alternatives to petrol and diesel.

“Soon auto rickshaws of India will run on 100 per cent bio-methanol,” he asserted.

The minister also announced that the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, partially opened so far, will be fully opened next month.

“I’m going to inaugurate it next month. …now, the expressway, built at over Rs 6,000 crore, will decrease travel time between Delhi and Meerut to 40 minutes,” he said.

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is likely to be completed by March 2023 and is being built as part of the first phase of the Bharatmala Pariyojana.

According to a recent official statement, being developed at a cost of Rs 98,000 crore, the 1,380-km-long Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will be the longest expressway in India.

It will enhance connectivity between the national capital Delhi and financial capital Mumbai, the statement had added.

The expressway will connect urban centres of Delhi through Delhi-Faridabad-Sohna section of the corridor along with a spur to Jewar Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Mumbai through a spur in Mumbai.

In addition, the expressway which passes through the six states of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra will improve the connectivity to economic hubs like Jaipur, Kishangarh, Ajmer, Kota, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Bhopal, Ujjain, Indore, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Surat – bringing economic prosperity to millions, the statement had noted.

Delhi-Mumbai Expressway was kick-started in 2018, with the foundation stone being laid on March 9, 2019.

According to the statement, out of the 1,380 km, contracts for more than 1,200 km have already been awarded.

The new expressway is expected to halve the commute time between Delhi and Mumbai from nearly 24 hours to 12 hours and shorten the distance by 130 km.

This will generate annual fuel savings of more than 320 million litres and reduce CO2 emissions by 850 million kg which is equivalent to the planting of 40 million trees, the statement had said.

The expressway is the first in Asia and only the second in the world to feature animal overpasses to facilitate unrestricted movement of wildlife. The DME will have three animal and five overpasses with a combined length of 7 km dedicated for unencumbered wildlife movement.

The expressway will also include two iconic eight-lane tunnels, one tunnelling through Mukundra sanctuary without disturbing the endangered fauna in the region for 4 km and the second 4-km eight-lane-tunnel will pass through the Matheran eco-sensitive zone.

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