Govt plans new milestones for national highways
The government has set out to address the confusion caused by the 2010 renumbering of India’s 1.32 lakh km long network of national highways that has resulted in a great deal of confusion among commuters.
It will clearly mark the so-called chainage of these highways and place new kilometre stones (and bigger stones every 5 km).
The issue dates back to 2010 when 221 national highways across the country were renumbered with the aim of ensuring more flexibility and creating a systematic numbering scheme based on the orientation and the geographic location of the highway. However, its implementation resulted in creating navigation and technical confusion for both road users and the government itself. Most highways continued to use both or either number; the kilometre stones sometimes carried the new number and sometimes the old one.
The transport ministry has drafted a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, for installation of milestones as per the new numbering system of national highways. The markers will be placed at every 200, with the ones at every 1-kilometre and 5-kilometre marks being larger in size. Five hundred ninety nine highways spread over 132,499.5km have been listed as per the new numbering system.
“Despite the passage of eight years following renumbering of the existing National Highways... the combination of old and new NHs numbers along the NHs are in use and in most of the cases the kilometre stone and marking along the NHs are still being done as per Old NH nos. This has been posing difficulties in identification of specific sections of NHs vis-à-vis new NH numbers; besides, this also poses difficulties in digitization/ geo-tagging of NHs, initiatives for which are also being taken up,” the SOP said.
The transport ministry has been tasked with geo-tagging of all national highways in a bid to introduce distance based tolling where road users pay only according to the distance travelled by them (based on the identification of their RFID FASTags).
“There used to be a lot of confusion. Some national highways would only show up on Google maps with their old numbers. Even in official documentation and preparation of Detailed Project Reports for highways projects or tendering, the confusion over NH numbering would persist,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.
The SOP also lays down a system of numbering for the new highways built since 2010.
For primary routes, numbering from North- South will be done based on even numbers increasing from East to West. While odd numbers will be used to mark East-West routes increasing from North to South.
There are other such rules as well, for secondary routes, for instance, or spur routes.
The total length of NHs has increased from about 91,287 km as on March 2014 to about 1,31,326 km till earlier this year. The transport ministry has also approved declaration of about 53,031 km length of State roads as new NHs.
The Centre has allotted the task for the implementation of the project to the concerned states/ Union Territories Public Works Department (PWDs) dealing with national highways “irrespective of the executing agencies with which such NHs are entrusted,” according to the SOP.
“This was affecting overall highway management system including inventory, procurement, maintenance, asset management with geo-tagging etc. In the transition phase to smart transport management system ,highway numbering is pivot to successful implementation of various policy measures in near future for efficient transport network,” said independent urban transport consultant Vimal Gehlot.
The SOP also states that state wise separate chainage determination will benefit in easier data updating and maintenance and reduce dependability on sharing information between other states/ UTs through with the highway passes.
Chainage is used for marking the positioning of the road and measuring its length across all geographical locations.
In case of denotification of certain section of the existing national highways there will be no change in the Chainage after the denotification of the certain section of the existing NH. However, the total length of the modified NHs and the denotified section of such NHs shall be especially mentioned in all the reporting of the NH data.