With the completion of the 22-kilometre stretch of the high-speed elevated expressway linking Faizabad Road to Kanpur Road, Lucknow too would figure on the fast track. But those seeking to indulge in the need for speed by using this access-control highway may have to shell out a fee by way of toll tax.
“If everything goes per plan, we should be able to complete work on the project by March 2007,” says manager (technical) CM Dwivedi of the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI). Dwivedi has a reason to be apprehensive.
Reason. The project is already behind schedule by almost two years thanks to the nagging land acquisition related problems with the LDA/villagers and construction of three railways over bridges along the route. “We recently had a meeting with the Commissioner Railways Safety (CRS) in this connection and have got the go-ahead for two out of the three RoBs,” he said.
Work on the construction of this Lucknow bypass, which is a small segment of the East-West corridor of the prestigious Golden Quadrilateral project of the Centre, began on August 30, 2001. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 158.80 crore, the stipulated completion deadline of this 22.856-kilometer highway was August 29, 2004. Trouble began when villagers along the route stalled construction work demanding they be given adequate underpasses to enable them to go about their daily chores. As if this was not enough of a problem, the LDA too pitched in demanding that it be paid for the land acquired for the project.
The initial idea was that the State Government would provide land needed for the purpose free-of-cost as part of the state component to facilitate the project. But all the issues have finally been resolved. While the villagers have been granted requisite underpasses, the LDA has been paid a hefty amount against land acquisition cost. Once it is completed, the expressway linking Faizabad Road to Sultanpur, Rae Bareli and Kanpur Road, according to NHAI officials, would provide an option to travelers on this route to cut down on travel time.