Delhi-Vadodara link of expressway to Mumbai may open by December
The officials said that the second part of the expressway will open in May between Delhi and Dausa (Rajasthan), and the entire motorway is expected to be ready by March, 2024
The Delhi Vadodara section of the 1,380-km-long Delhi Mumbai Expressway is likely to be ready by December, National highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials said, and added that the first section of the greenfield road will open between Vadodara and Ankleshwar in April this year.
The officials said that the second part of the expressway will open in May between Delhi and Dausa (Rajasthan), and the entire motorway is expected to be ready by March, 2024. “The Delhi to Dausa stretch will provide better connectivity to Jaipur, and will cut travel time from Delhi to Jaipur by about an hour since it will allow people to drive at a maximum speed of 120 kmph on the access-controlled expressway,” said a senior transport official.
Once ready, the DME is expected to halve the commute time between Delhi and Mumbai from nearly 24 hours to 12-13 hours, as well as shorten the road route between the two cities by 130 km.
Being developed at a cost of ₹98,233 crores, the Delhi-Mumbai eight lane greenfield expressway was kickstarted in 2018 with the foundation stone being laid on March 9, 2019. Back then, it was expected to be completed by March 2023. However, according to the latest timelines set by NHAI, the target of completion has been set at March, 2024. Officials said hurdles in land acquisition delayed four sections of the highway.
A senior road transport official who askend not to be named said except for the stretch falling in Gujarat’s Dahod district, the Delhi-Vadodara section of the DME will be ready by December this year. This will cover DND in Delhi; Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Sohna, Nuh and Palwal in Haryana; Alwar, Bharatpur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi and Kota in Rajasthan; Mandsaur, Ratlam and Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh; Dahod, Limkheda, Panchmahal, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat and Valsad in Gujarat.
“The Delhi-Vadodara stretch of over 903km is on track. In fact, even beyond Vadodara, our work is in full swing till Kim in Gujarat. However, if we see from DND in Delhi to Kim in Gujarat, mostly only about four stretches are running behind schedule and all of them are in Dahod,” the official said.
Officials added that barring a few stretches of 60-150 kms, most of the expressway will be ready between December this year and March 2023. This was confirmed by Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, who on February 10 said that nearly 90% of the DME will be ready by the end of this year. “We are looking at completing the majority of the expressway by December. However, construction of some parts like the stretch in Mumbai till Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will take some more time,” said Gadkari during an interaction with reporters at his residence in Delhi. JNPT is the country’s largest container port.
“If we talk about the entire Delhi-Mumbai expressway, then the project has been delayed because NHAI faced issues in getting timely approvals in Maharashtra for the stretch between Virar and the end point JNPT in Navi Mumbai. In Gujarat also, work is behind schedule in the Dahod district as the tribals in the Jhalod area went to court, which took time. But all that has been resolved and work has been awarded now,” a second official said.
The expressway, which passes through the six states 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, Surat.
It is also expected to generate annual fuel savings of more than 320 million litres and reduce CO2 emissions by 850 million kilos which is equivalent to the planting of 40 million trees. “Over two million trees and shrubs are planned to be planted along the highway as part NHAI’s commitment towards environment conservation,” a ministry spokesperson said.