The central government on Thursday decided to upgrade its national highways with plans for converting to six lanes stretches totalling 6,500 km including the 5,700-km Golden Quadrilateral linking the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
The approval paves the way for six-laning of 6,500 km of national highways comprising 5,700 km of Golden Quadrilateral and balance 800 km of other sections of national highways under the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase V at a cost of Rs 412.1 billion, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the media.
Of the total, Rs 356.92 billion investment is expected from the private sector and the balance of Rs 55.18 billion as viability gap, cost of land acquisition, utility shifting and consultancy by the government.
"The projects are to be taken up on the build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) mode following a design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) pattern with a maximum of 10 percent viability gap funding (VGF)," the finance minister said.
The construction cost the NHDP V projects is estimated at Rs 63.4 million per km comprising Rs 57.8 million for construction and Rs 5.6 million for land acquisition, utilities and consultancy.
Upgradation of existing roads is expected to further improve traffic safety and provide faster movement of vehicles with improved riding quality and time. This will lead to reduction in vehicle operating costs and a significant reduction in fuel consumption for the vehicle resulting in energy conservation.