A new expressway connecting Delhi and Mumbai will be built that will substantially cut down on travel time, Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Monday.
The project is expected to cost Rs 1 lakh crore and will be executed over the next three years, the minister said.
A Chambal Expressway that would connect Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to the new expressway is also being planned.
Currently the 1428-km National Highway 8 connects Delhi and Mumbai - the travel time is approximately 24 hours. It is said to be the country's busiest highway, which passes through key cities of Rajasthan and Gujarat, including Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Ahmedabad and Vadodara. It is the first section of the Golden Quadrilateral project undertaken by the National Highways Authority of India or NHAI, it will be extended till Chennai.
Mr Gadkari said his ministry has undertaken 10 projects to decongest Delhi, which together will cost around Rs 35,600 crore.
About 40,000 commercial vehicles enter the national capital daily, spiking pollution and congestion, which is one of the key triggers for the deadly smog that envelopes the city every winter. The courts have suggested that the government come up with a long-term solution to the problem.
One of the plans involves an ambitious scheme to develop Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways around Delhi. The Eastern Peripheral Expressway will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 29.
Work on a signal-free corridor from Dhaula Kuan to Airport has been awarded at a cost of Rs 260 crore.
Work is going on for the eight-lane fully access-controlled Dwarka Expressway, which is being developed in four parts. Three of these portions have already been awarded and the total investment on the project is Rs 9,500 crore. A bypass to connect Dwarka to NH8 is also being envisaged.
Talking about the development of major junctions on NH8 in Gurugram like the flyover/ underpass at IFFCO Chowk, Signature Tower intersection, Rajiv Chowk and Hero Honda Chowk, Mr Gadkari said work on the Rs 1,000-crore project has been substantially completed.