India’s infrastructure sector, a key driver of the country’s development and economic growth, remains the focus of the Government’s policies, initiatives and investment plans. The sector has seen many changes in business models, including more active participation by the private sector, for creating a world-class infrastructure in the country. As a result, India can now be found on the global infrastructure map for constructing world’s largest infrastructure projects. The country now has many firsts to its credit: It is building skyscrapers of record heights, tunnels of the longest lengths, stadiums with huge seating capacity for hosting international sporting events, rail bridges spanning great lengths for better connectivity between states, large greenfield airports for handling increasing passenger traffic and manymore.
We present here some of the gigantic engineering and infrastructure projects, which are currently under construction or nearing completion.
Chenab Bridge - World’s tallest rail bridge
India will soon have the world’s tallest rail bridge, the Chenab Bridge, the construction of which is in full swing. Located between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, the 1,315m-long bridge is being built at a height of 359m at a cost of Rs.1,110 crores, and is slated to be ready by 2019.
Designed by consultants from Finland and Germany, the bridge forms the crucial link in the 111 km stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project. Norway-based Force Technology Laboratory conducted several wind tunnel tests to understand the effects of wind speed, static force coefficients, and gust buffeting. The bridge is designed to resist wind speeds of upto 260 km/h.
The bridge is being made of steel, which can resist temperatures of -20oC and wind speeds of above 200 km/h, and is economical too. It is estimated that the bridge will need 25,000 mt of steel, 4,000 mt of reinforced steel, 46,000m³ of concrete, and eight million m³ of excavation.
For enhanced safety and security against attacks by terrorists, a 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel will be used and the concrete pillars of the bridge will withstand explosions. The bridge will include a 14 meter-wide dual carriageway and a 1.2 meter-wide central verge. The structure will be painted with a special corrosion-resistant paint that lasts for 15 years. Other security measures to safeguard the rail bridge will include a ring of aerial security, and an online monitoring and warning system installed on the bridge. The bridge is estimated to have a lifespan of 120 years. By enabling better transportation and accessibility within the state and the country, it will contribute to the economic development of the state.
Motera Stadium - World’s biggest cricket stadium
The Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, will surpass the Melbourne Cricket Ground that has a seating capacity of 90,000. The Motera stadium’s seating capacity will go up from 54,000 to about 1,10,000, once it has been fully overhauled in a couple of years.
A concourse will connect the entire stadium for pedestrian and vehicular move- ment. It will include a club house with 55 rooms, an Olympic size swimming pool, three practice grounds, an indoor cricket academy, 76 corporate boxes, and four dressing rooms. No columns will enable unobstructed viewing of the sporting events from any corner of the stadium.
Parking of vehicles is a major traffic congestion issue during matches. While there will be parking for 3,000 cars and 10,000 two-wheelers, it has been announced that the stadium will have three entry points instead of one, and the traffic will be segregated in three directions. Apart from the old Sabarmati road to Motera, there are plans to integrate the Metro Rail that passes from here, and/or link the Sabarmati Riverfront road with the stadium.
World One - World’s tallest residential tower
Located in Lower Parel, South Mumbai, World One is a super-tall skyscraper, currently under construction. The 442-metre and 117-floor residential tower is being built by Mumbai-based Lodha Group at a cost of around $321 million. Construction began in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2018. It will be the tallest building in India and the tallest residential tower in the world.
The chief architect is Pei Cobb Freed & Partners while Armani/Casa Interior Design Studio has provided complete interior design solutions. The structural engineer is Leslie E. Robertson Associates, and MEP engineer is Buro Happold Engineers.
Dhola-Sadiya Bridge - Longest river bridge in India
A 9.15 km bridge linking Assam with Arunachal Pradesh over the Brahmaputra river has recently been inaugurated by the PM. Built at a cost of ₹2,056 crore, the bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra-Worli sea link. The length of the bridge, including viaducts, is 9.15 km with a 7.3 km approach road from the Dhola side and 12.5 km from Sadiya side.
The bridge will reduce the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to just one hour. Considering the geological vulnerabilities of the North-East, which is a high-seismic region, the bridge was built using state-of-the-art equipment, including imported hydraulic rigs, and provided seismic buffers in all its 182 piers.
The bridge will not only save money, reduce travel time but comes as a foundation for the beginning of a new economic revolution.
Kathipara Flyover - Largest cloverleaf flyover in Asia
Kathipara Junction is the largest cloverleaf interchange in India and the largest cloverleaf flyover in the whole of Asia. It is located at Alandur at the intersection of the Grand Southern Trunk Road, Inner Ring Road, Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Chenani - Nashri Tunnel: Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel
The 9.2 km Chenani-Nashri Tunnel is India’s longest and safest tunnel, built to reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by at least two hours. Built at a cost of ₹3,720 crore on BOT annuity model, the tunnel is a part of 286 km-long four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar Highway project. Constructed between Udhampur and Ramban at an elevation of 1,200 metres on one of the most difficult terrains of the Himalayas, this all-weather route is not only India’s longest road tunnel but is also Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel. A unique feature of the tunnel is that it is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35 metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with cross passages connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres.
The Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, built with new Austrian tunnel technology, has a series of smart safety systems - all functioning through a single software. Systems include Integrated Traffic Control, Surveillance, Ventilation, Broadcast; Fire Fighting, Evacuation Broadcast and an emergency SOS box at every 150 metres that reacts to an Incident Detection System.
After successfully commencing the Chenani-Nashri Tunnel project, work on twelve other tunnels (part of Jammu-Srinagar Highway’s four-laning) are in full swing. Once constructed, the 293 km length between Jammu and Srinagar will be reduced by 62 km, which can be covered in 4 to 4.5 hours.
DMIC - World’s largest infrastructure project
The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects with an estimated investment of $90 billion. Stretching from Delhi to Mumbai, it is expected to contribute more than 25% of India’s GDP. Planned as a high-tech industrial zone, it spans seven states across the 1,500 km-long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, which serves as its backbone
The DMIC project, once completed, will create a quick and reliable trade route linking the north of India to the south. Currently, it takes 14 days to transfer cargo along this route but with the completion of DMIC, it will take just 14 hours.
The project encompasses 24 industrial regions, eight smart cities, two airports, five power projects, two mass rapid transit systems, and two logistic hubs. Its funding is by the Indian government and part by foreign investment, mainly Japan.
In the long term, DMIC is set to double employment potential, triple industrial output, and quadruple exports. Work is progressing at a rapid pace and is expected to be completed by December 2019.
Banihal-Qazigund Tunnel: India’s longest and Asia’s third longest railway tunnel
The Banihal Rail Tunnel is a new 11.215 km-long Banihal-Qazigund Tunnel link connecting Bichleri Valley of Banihal with Qazigund area of Kashmir Valley. Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is India’s longest and Asia’s third longest railway tunnel built as part of the Kashmir Railway.
Kamuthi solar plant - World’s largest solar plant
The ₹45.5 billion solar project was constructed in just eight months; it consists of 3,80,000 foundations, 2.5 million solar modules, 576 inverters, and 154 transformers, according to the Deccan Chronicle. Each day, the plant is cleaned by a robotic system that is charged by its own solar panels.
The Kamuthi solar plant is backed by the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group. With this plant, India may be on track to become the third largest producer of solar power across the world, after China and the US. The government of India wants to raise $1 trillion to quadruple the current global solar power to 1 terawatt by 2030, and there are plans already to create solar parks that are even bigger than Kamuthi in Andhra Pradesh.
Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir - World’s tallest temple
Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is set to become the tallest religious structure in the world, once it is completed in 2019. Designed to rise nearly 700 feet high, it will be taller than Germany’s Ulm Minster. The temple complex will include theme park rides, animatronics, special light and sound effects, Vraja Mandal Parikrama laser shows, houses and apartments for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. The temple will be built using earthquake-proof materials and will rise up to 70 storeys in the shape of a rocket ship. A capsule elevator will take visitors up to a viewing deck, and stories in Vedic literature will be presented through light and sound. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is said to have grown up in the area around the temple.
Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) - World’s biggest greenfield airport
The airport, which was proposed in 1997, received the government’s nod in 2007, but the project got delayed due to land acquisition issues and securing necessary government permissions including environmental clearance. After years of delay, NMIA is finally off the ground, with the GVK Group-owned Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) winning the financial bid for the ₹16,000-crore project.
The first phase of the airport is expected to be operational in 2019, when it will handle 10 million passengers annually. It is estimated that by 2030 when it becomes fully operational, it will handle 60 million passengers annually.
Shivaji Memorial - World’s tallest statue
Mumbai is set to build the world’s tallest statue, which will be twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. The proposed 192 meter statue of Shivaji, a 16th century ruler from western India, will be built off the city of Mumbai. There is a plan to increase the height of the Shivaji memorial from the proposed 192m to 210m, to compete with a Buddha statue in China for the world’s tallest statue tag.
Expected to cost 36 billion rupees ($736m), the construction of the statue on land reclaimed from the Arabian Sea, is due to be completed in 2019.
Hyderabad Metro Rail - 46-mile light rail system
The Hyderabad Metro Rail is a 46 mile-long light rail system that will finally bring communication-based train control to India. It will take $2 billion-plus to create a new, elevated Hyderabad Metro Rail system in India. With initial phases nearing opening, the 46-mile light rail system will modernize the entire region. Elevated stations will appear every kilometer and are expected to handle 15 million riders, with trains arriving at stations every three to five minutes. With trains running at an average of over 20 miles per hour, all technology—track, stations and support—will run above ground.