Had a harrowing time commuting through the heavily congested National Highways (NH) between Delhi-Jaipur or Delhi-Chandigarh?
If a proposed project of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways sees the light of the day, you can look forward to some respite in the near future.
To decongest traffic and reduce travelling time by half, the Union Road Transport Ministry is planning to construct two high-speed expressways connecting Delhi to Jaipur and Delhi to Chandigarh. The expressways are being proposed alongside the 2,762 kilometre long Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor passing through Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
The project was proposed after the Haryana and the Rajasthan government wrote to the ministry emphasizing the need for the two expressways to help decongest traffic and improve the connectivity of NCR towns with these states. The ministry has already held the first round of meetings with the Rajasthan government to thrash out the finer details of the projects.
Road Transport Minister CP Joshi confirmed the ministry's plan to construct two high-speed expressways. "My ministry is interacting with the state government of Haryana and Rajasthan to thrash out the modalities of the proposed projects."
Joshi said that the ministry is planning to align the two expressways along the eastern and western corridors of the Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor.
About two-third of the dedicated railway freight corridor will pass through Rajasthan. "Once the freight corridor comes up, business and industrial hubs will come up near it. They will benefit from a high-speed expressway," said a ministry official.
Salauddin Ahmad, Rajasthan chief secretary said, "We held discussions with the Road Transport ministry about the alignment to follow for Delhi-Jaipur high speed expressway. Since a Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor and a Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor are proposed to pass through the state, we have asked the ministry to keep these two projects in mind while deciding on the alignment of the expressway. We will fine tune the details in subsequent meetings with the ministry officials."
Ministry officials said that very soon consultants will be appointed to carry out a feasibility study of the two proposed projects. At present, National Highway -8 connecting Delhi to Jaipur has become extremely congested and during peak traffic hours it takes anywhere between 6-8 hours to cover the 273 kilometre stretch between Delhi and Jaipur.
Similarly, NH-1 and NH-21 (junction with NH-22 near Chandigarh) connects Delhi to Chandigarh. During peak traffic hour, it takes around six
hours to cover the 252 km stretch.
However, this is not the first time that a Delhi-Chandigarh high-speed exprerssway has been planned. A similar proposal to set up a greenfield expressway connecting Delhi to Chandigarh via Yamuna Nagar was made about a decade back. "But it never moved beyond the drawing board," said a senior Haryana government official.
(with inputs from Rashpal Singh)