Govt. launches Rs. 2.5 lakh-cr NH widening plan

National Highway Widening Plan
Unveiling an ambitious national highway widening exercise, the transport ministry has prepared a blueprint to expand 16,000 km of national highways into six lanes and another 14,000 km to four lanes at a whopping investment of Rs. 2.5 lakh-cr in the next four to five years. The investment for the mega plan will be mobilized through 100% government funding or through public-private partnerships, said official sources, elaborating that an ambitious plan has been prepared to improve the average speed of vehicles, particularly those transporting cargo. Some of the identified corridors are already under expansion and have been included in the Bharatmala scheme.

The ministry has proposed empowering of the board of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to take decisions to implement the six-lane projects on the lines of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-era Golden Quadrilateral project — the country's first major highway program. Projects to be implemented by NHAI will connect areas of economic importance such as ports and manufacturing hubs. As a matter of fact, Golden Quadrilateral brought revolution in the country's highway sector, connecting four corners of the country. But little was done to improve connectivity across the country in a planned manner and hardly any ring roads were built to improve traffic movement but the upcoming plans will make up for the delay on this score, they claimed.

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