Vajpayee inaugurates part of national expressway network
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Vajpayee inaugurates part of national expressway network

Tuesday, 28 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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AHMEDABAD: Gujarat took its first step on the country's Golden Quadrilateral corridor with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee throwing open a section of an expressway Tuesday.

"This road is like the country's line of fortune, it represents the country's unity, it shows the country's integrity," Vajpayee said after unveiling a ceremonial plaque at Narol on the outskirts of the city from where the National Expressway-1 passes.

A part of the Indian government's ambitious National Highways Development Project (NHDP), this stretch will cut down on commuting time between Ahmedabad and the state's second most important city of Vadodara.

NHDP, the central government's most ambitious highway project, was launched in September 1998 to augment the road infrastructure of the country and connectivity to the country's 10 major ports.

The project has two major components: the Golden Quadrilateral and the North-South & East-West Corridors.

The expressway is part of the Golden Quadrilateral component, under which a 5,952-km long New Delhi-Kolkata-Chennai-Mumbai-New Delhi corridor would be built linking the four metros.

The 93.3-km Ahmedabad-Vadodara express highway forms a part of this corridor. It would be completed in two phases: the Ahmedabad-Nadiad section and the Nadiad-Vadodara section.

While the first phase has been completed at a cost of 1.8 billion, the second phase is likely to be completed by the end of this year at an estimated cost of 2.95 billion.

The North-South and East-West Corridors will link Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Saurashtra in western Gujarat and will involve laying down a 7,300-km long corridor.

The project is likely to be completed by 2007 at a cost of 540 billion. It will provide road connectivity to 10 major ports at a cost of 17.22 billion.

All expressways will be a two-lane dual carriageway and will offer access control facility that will enable fast commuting between different cities across the country.

Referring to the benefits of the Golden Quadrilateral, Vajpayee said while the country needed to import crude worth 900 billion a year, any one arm of the project, when completed, would save fuel worth 80 billion every a year.

The highway network, when connected properly with state highways and rural roads, would open new opportunities for exports. It would also lead to increased economic activities, he said.

"From village roads to state highways, from sate highways to express highways... fruits and vegetables produced by our people can be quickly reached to Europe.

"If we have good roads, we would have more petrol stations... Kiosks would come up around them... the entire economy would be invigorated," Vajpayee said.

The Ahmedabad-Vadodara stretch of the highway will have two interchanges with full cloverleaf arrangements at Nadiad and Anand and two amenity centres complete with gas stations, cyber cafes and restaurants.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) also plans to put in place "highways traffic management system" (HTMS) that will see two vans plying the expressway round-the-clock. This will reduce the number of accidents and casualties, according to NHAI official.

The NHAI is developing the expressway facility through a special purpose vehicle, 'Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway Company Ltd', a fully owned subsidiary of NHAI.
Source: IANS
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