The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has ordered the expedition of its ambitious cluster project, Mission 300, and has pegged the launch date to the end of 2018. Mission 300, of which the recently-opened 14-lane Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) is a part of, is a cluster undertaking of the construction of 300 highways and expressways within a short span of time.
Taking cue from the MoRTH, the National Highways Authority of India will now accelerate the construction of the Mission projects. If completed in time, Mission 300 will be one of the largest and most efficient engineering feats the NHAI has undertaken till date. The enterprise complements the NHAI and Central government’s ongoing efforts to modernise highway infrastructure.
The MoRTH and the NHAI, according to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (MoRTH), are planning to aim for 450 highways and expressways and building at least 300 of them by January. The original date for the realisation of the Mission 300 projects was affixed to April 2019; however, the government decided to prepone the launch.
The NHAI conceptualised 150 highway projects under the Mission, and is working on 416 other highway projects. The highways agency, through Mission 300, is aiming to realise the Centre’s target of laying 40 km of roads every day, according to reliable news outlets. The projects will help the NHAI ease the increasing traffic clutter in and around the metropolitan regions of the country and reduce air pollution levels.
An example of the magnitude of change the Mission will bring is the Delhi-Meerut Expressway mentioned in the introduction. The 14-lane expressway is the widest road network in India and its first phase has already begun easing traffic and reducing pollution between Delhi and Meerut.
The Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) – launched alongside the first phase of DME – is also a part of Mission 300 and cost the government exchequer Rs 11,000 crores. The Expressway provides vehicles in the National Capital Region (NCR) a 6-lane bypass, using which they can travel from cities in NCR to destinations around New Delhi without actually having to travel through the Capital city.
The mega infrastructure goal, Mission 300, will aid the government’s bid to provide higher road connectivity to rural and remote regions in the nation. It also will help in connecting economic zones via highways and expressways besides decongesting city areas and improving trade and commerce.
Mission 300 comprises just a few of the numerous road-infrastructure projects the NHAI has undertaken under the MoRTH.
Some of the other noteworthy highway ventures being pursued by the highways body include: Bharatmala Pariyojana, Wayside Amenities (WSAs), Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), industrial drones and remote sensing for highway projects, GPS tolling, and India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway (IMTTH).
Of these, WSA, ETC, Sukhad Yatra, the ATMS, drones, and the IMTTH have already reached completion or are already functional. In addition to developing expressways and national highways, the NHAI also is integrating technology, such as surveillance systems, to monitor these projects and prevent incidents such as accidents and grid locks.