National Highways: India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Factoids about National Highways
Least and most expensive; fastest and slowest to construct
See graphic, ' National Highways: the Least and most expensive; fastest and slowest to construct ' The Times of India,
Dec 20 2014
There were 127 delayed national highway projects as per December, 2014. An analysis of the estimated project cost per kilometre and the rate of construction of these roads showed some interesting patterns. Bridges were understandably far more expensive to construct--the per km cost of construction of Chambal bridge on NH-76 was Rs 200.9cr, 84 times the cost of construction of the Rai Bareli-Allahabad section of NH-24B. They also had the slowest construction rate. The annual construction rate was 0.1 km for the Chambal bridge, far lower than the 123.8 km year rate at which sections of NH-69A and 26B were being constructed.
The Times of India, Apr 18 2016
Centre cuts NHAI's share of fuel cess
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) may now have to fend for itself. The road transport and highways ministry has told the authority that it will provide only Rs 2,000 crore as its share of fuel cess this year compared to last year's Rs 15,000 crore.
NHAI requires about Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000 crore for the current financial year. Its sources of revenue are cess and toll charges, which put together will be around Rs 10,000 this year. It will now have to raise the remaining money from the market through tax free bonds.
While the ministry told NHAI that it needed more from the budgetary support (cess) to fund highway development projects which it implements through state PWDs and NHIDCL, the highway authority has protested saying this allocation was unsustainable.
NHAI's share from the fuel cess allocated to the ministry has been increasing since it was levied for the first time in 1999.During 2015-16, it was all time high at around Rs 15,000 crore from the total allocation of Rs 23,000 crore for the highway sector. In 2015-16, the total allocation of cess to the ministry has been increased to Rs 42,000 crore. The authority was expecting to get about Rs 25,000 crore from this fund.
Sources said the highway authority had raised Rs 23,000 crore as tax free bonds to meet expenses last year.
“We have been able to raise so much as our tax free bonds are rated as AAA. This rating is because of assured fund flow to NHAI in the form of fuel cess from government and the toll revenue that we receive. This year we may be able to raise the desi red amount, but what will happen next year or the year after that?“ asked an NHAI official.
In fact, while rating the NHAI bonds, rating agencies have always highlighted how fuel cess remains the major source of the authority's finances.
In a recent communication to the highways ministry, NHAI also referred to the B K Chaturvedi committee report of November 2009 which mentioned that finance ministry should issue a letter of comfort to NHAI assuring that the fuel cess for building highways by the agency would be continued till 2030-31 for sustainable financing. In fact, the highway ministry had given in-principle approval to NHAI for providing letter of comfort, confirming availability of cess at least till 2030-31.
The National Highways Authority of India needs more funds since it is involved in widening of highways to four and six lanes and needs to acquire land for such expansion.
On the other hand, projects implemented by the ministry don't require land acquisition as most of these are widened to two-and-a-half lanes.
Moreover, with private investment still coming less the sector, NHAI has to execute most of the projects will 100% government fund.
Cost of acquiring land
The Times of India, July 27, 2015
Land cost per km Rs 4.5cr, up from Rs 75 lakh in 2011-12
The land acquisition law enacted during UPA's tenure has pushed up the cost of buying land for highway projects almost six times over five years. In the financial year 2014-15, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) estimates the initial price per hectare at Rs 3 crore, compared to Rs 56 lakh in 2011-12. Compared to the average cost of Rs 1.35 crore a hectare during 2013-14, the acquisition value is estimated to be more than double this year. This has resulted in the overall cost of constructing a kilometre of a four-lane highway rising to almost Rs 16 crore, compared to Rs 11crore -12 crore a couple of years ago. A steep rise in the project cost has implications for the toll users pay.
The overall cost of building a kilometre of road includes construction expens es and the compensation paid during land acquisition. Sources said the expenditure towards land acquisition for building bypasses could be even higher -as much as Rs 10 crore-11 crore a hectare in certain parts of the country -as land around urban clusters is more valuable. Also, it bypasses need for more land compared to upgrading an existing two-lane stretch to four lanes. The higher cost of land has implications for the greenfield expressways planned around the country .
Land was around 10% of the cost for constructing a four-lane highway in 2011-12, compared to almost 45% now. For instance, to build a kilometer of a four-lane highway , around 1.5 hectare is needed, which would have cost around 75 lakh in 201112. Now, the acquisition cost has increased to around Rs 4.50 crore for a km, in addition to the construction cost. But officials concede that thanks to higher compensation, landowners are willing to offer land for acquisition, after provisions of the new land law became applicable for NH projects from January . But the ministry has sought relaxations under the current law arguing that acquisition for linear projects does not displace people in large numbers unlike projects for irrigation.
Farmers can turn land along NHs into `highway nests'
NHAI Will Let Them Change Land Use From `Agri' To `Commercial'
Farmers owning 2-5 acres along national highways can develop these land parcels into a `highway nest' or `highway village' with prescribed services ranging from quality food to clean toilets and comfortable resting facilities for travellers. NHAI will allow access to these facilities from highways and help land owners get the land use changed from `agriculture' to `commercial' category.
“We will only be a facilitator. NHAI will pursue the case for setting up of fuel stations at these locations.These facilities will get the NHAI brand name and will have to comply with the service-level benchmark. We are not charging anything from them,“ highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday while launching the initiative to make farmland owners a part of the highway success story .
These facilities will come up every 40 km. NHAI targets to set up 700-800 such facilities in the next one and a half years. Unlike western countries, most of the highway stretches in India lack good amenities for commuters. Gadkari said tourists have a harrowing experience when they don't find a good resting place even on tourist circuits.
NHAI chairman Deepak Kumar said they have floated tenders for similar facilities where land is available with NHAI. The authority will set up 200 such facilities along NHs on franchise model and these will be operational in the next one year, he said.
Highways secretary Y S Malik said the new facilities will offer an additional option to commuters to the existing `dhabas'. “Only 30% of the land parcel will have construction and the rest will be circulation areas.People can park their vehicle comfortably and take a break,“ he said.
Interested farmers will have to give the option based on the size of land. NHAI will chose land parcels which have more frontage areas on the NH. “The land owners have to invest and NHAI won't be involved in any manner,“ an official said.
The NHAI chief said bigger land parcels will be qualified for highway village, which will have more facilities including rooms for short stay for passengers and dormitories for drivers, minor workshops for repair and village haat. Smaller plots will get the tag of `nest' with relatively less facilities.
Length of roads (+ road construction, expansion)
'Length of National Highways and total road length, 1990-2013 '
‘Number of registered vehicles, 1990-13’
See graphic, ' Growth of national highways, 1990-2015 '
See graphic, ‘Length of roads added between 2000 and 2015’
See graphic, ' Highways performance: total construction and total award, year-wise; 2008-2015'
See graphic, ' Construction and award of highway projects: 2008-16 '
2009-14 vis-à-vis 2014-18
‘Construction Of NH To Touch 39,000km By March-End’
Construction of national highways (NHs) in NDA’s over four-year rule has risen by 26% at 31,000 km compared to UPA-2’s 24,425 km in five years. However, under both the governments, most of the work was linked to strengthening and widening of existing highways to two lanes.
Highway ministry officials said the construction figure for NDA’s full term would touch at least 39,000 km by March-end, which would be a 60% rise over the 2009-2014 tally. While the share of strengthening of existing highways and widening of NHs to two-and-ahalf lanes (two lanes plus paved shoulder) during NDA was about 76% of the total highway development work, it was nearly 60% during UPA-2.
Strengthening of road involves dense carpeting and other treatment of identified stretches after assessing the deficiencies. In this case, the existing road is not widened but is improved to handle increased traffic load for the next 5-10 years. Under the two-laning programme, narrow roads are widened to at least two lanes with paved shoulder. As of now, nearly 75% of the 1.3 lakh km NH network in India is either of two lanes or less.
Government data showed that during UPA-2, about 16,650 km out of the total 24,455 km constructed fell under the strengthening and two-laning categories. During NDA rule, strengthening and two-laning put together had a share of about 23,570 km out of the approximately 31,000 km built till June-end.
“We had the highest ever record of building four-lane highways in 2017-18 at 2,200 km and this year, it will be more than 3,000 km. Fourlaning of highways had slowed down during the first two years of this government as there was a sudden withdrawal of highway builders, who had bagged projects under public private partnership during the earlier government. The land acquisition law also created problems. We had to find solutions to revive the sector and accelerate the construction,” a government official said.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) primarily widens NHs to four lanes while the road transport ministry executes strengthening and two-laning of highways through state public works departments. Officials said twolane highways were enough to meet the requirement in hilly states while even in the plains, such roads in good condition could cater to 15,000 vehicles a day.
For long, there has been a debate whether NHs should be of at least four lanes to give them a different identity from other roads. However, due to increased political demand to convert more and more roads into NHs, about three-fourths of the NH network are still either of two lanes or less.
2016: No. of lanes, road length
40% Of Roads In India Not Metalled: Data
In a stark indication of how far India has to go in developing its highway network, latest official statistics reveal that around 78% of national highways are either one or two-lane affairs. One third are less than two lanes, making the task of four-laning India's economic lifelines a challenging endeavour.
A report of the road trans port and highways ministry also shows that nearly 40%, including rural, intra-district and state highways, are not metalled -outlining the limitations in connectivity but al so offering hope that road development in remote areas can be a major employment generator for many years to come.
According to the report, just five states -Maharash tra, UP, Karnataka, West Bengal and Assam -account for 43% of the road network.The implications are obvious as fixing the imbalance can be key to literally speeding up India's economy through smoother freight movement.
Over 14 lakh km of road is yet to be surfaced, over 11.5 lakh km being rural and project roads. While rural roads include stretches owned by panchayats and zila parishads in addition to networks under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, project roads cover stretches built by the forest, irrigation and electricity departments, among others. Road length in India incre ased from 33.73 lakh km in 2000-01to 54.72 lakh km in 2015 and rural roads account for the maximum share of 61% of the entire network. State and national highways, which carry over 60% traffic, have less than 5% share. These are even less than the country's total urban road network.
A comparative analysis of the report also shows that Assam has the maximum length of non-metalled or unsurfaced roads (nearly 2.67 lakh km) followed by 1.85 lakh km in West Bengal and Maharashtra. Interestingly , Delhi, which ranks fourth in the list of states with maximum urban roads, has nearly 8,700km of non-metalled stretches.
Road transport ministry officials said considering that road development works have a multiplier effect on the economy and job generation, highways minister Nitin Gadkari has given an in-principle approval to increase the length of national highways from 1.05 lakh km to 1.40 lakh km. In fact, the ministry has also revised the norm for qualifying highway stretches for their widening from two lanes to four lanes. Moreover, the ministry has set a target to wi den all national highways to at least two lanes.
“National highways mu st be of some standard so that people can find the difference the minute they take NHs.
Simple notification to declare state highways as NHs may have political significance, but the real task lies in expan ding and improving them,“ said S P Singh of IFTRT, a Delhi-based thinktank on transport issues.
The Times of India, Sep 12 2015
National highways to grow by 50,000km in 6 mths
The road transport and highways ministry is supposed to add nearly 50,000 km of roads to the National Highways (NH) network in the country till March 2016. This addition within two years of the Narendra Modi government will be more than twice the length NDA-I had added in its six years and over three times of what UPA added in its 10-year rule.
Sources said Between June 2014 and August 2015, the new government has added about 7,000 km of roads to the NH length and at present it's little more than one lakh km. Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has announced to take it to 1.5 lakh km by this year end.
Between 1998 and 2004 when NDA was in power, about 23,814 km was added to the NH network and during the 10-year rule of the UPA government, a total of around 18,000 km were designated as NH.
On how the ministry is now going about including more stretches as NH, an official said, “While process of notification to include about 15,000 km under Bharat Mala and joining backward areas in the NH network is under way , we are carrying out feasibility study for large chunk of stretches that states have forwarded for upgrading them as NHs. This would be about 20,000 km.“
Sources said adding length is crucial to maintain the pace of award, which has been increased to about 30 km a day . Putting its focus to accelerate highway construction as growth multiplier, the Modi government plans to continue this high target of award of works for 3-4 years. “Moreover, ideally most of the major roads connecting districts, upcoming business hubs and even religious and tourist places should be connected with at least two-and-half lane roads,“ an official said.
However, there is also a flip side to it. Converting more stretches of state highways or major district roads to NHs will increase burden on the Central budget as states will stop spending on maintenance of these stretches as soon as the corridors are notified as NHs.Some of the officials said the situation won't get out of government control as most of the stretches being expanded now are on a model named “EPC contracts“. Under this, the contractor has to maintain the road for one year and is also responsible for any defect for four years.
2015-16: Record construction
The Times of India, Apr 11 2016
In 2015-16, record 6,029 km of highways constructed
The construction of highways touched an all-time high of 6,029 km during 2015-16.Prior to this, a maximum of 5,732 km of national highway was constructed during 2012-13.
Officials said while NHAI reported construction of nearly 2,000 km, the rest came from works done by the road transport ministry through its agencies including state public works departments, Border Roads Organisation and ministry's entity NHIDCL for undertaking works in hill states.
TOI on January 10 had first reported how the total construction was set to cross 6,000-km mark.
Though surpassing 2012-13 record by merely constructing one extra km per day may not be that big achievement, sources said the increased pace of construction will now continue for the next few years.
2015-16: 360km added daily
India’s road length increased by 1.31 lakh kilometres within a span of one year between March 2015 and March 2016, according to the latest report released by the road transport and highways ministry. This translates to adding 360 km daily to the country’s road network in comparison to 170 km and 190 km per day in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.
India’s road network increased from 54.72 lakh kms to 56.03 lakh kms on the back of higher pace of construction of rural roads which pushed up the total length by almost half. Not just length, even quality improvement was reported in the national highway (NH) segment with more number of one lane stretches getting converted to minimum two lanes. The share of less than two-lane roads reduced by 10% during 2015-16, while the share of two-lane roads increased by little over 8% and another 3% increase in the share of NHs that are of four lanes or more.
The increased effort to build and widen more NHs is also evident from the rising expenditure in the highways sector. According to the “Basic Road Statistics of India 2015-16”, the total expenditure — both public and private — was Rs 98,900 crore during 2015-16 in comparison to Rs 54,935 crore during the previous financial year, a whopping 55% increase.
However, large chunk of unpaved road network remains a concern as still 38% of the entire road network across the country is yet to be surfaced and most of these are rural roads. Among all the states Assam has the worst record with only one-fifth of its road network surfaced. This provides a huge opportunity for both the state and central governments to push road building in rural areas to generate employment.
2017: 23% increase
The pace of national highway construction during April-November 2017 increased by 23% over the same period in 2016. Officials said they were confident of crossing 9,000 km this fiscal to register the highest ever construction of highways, though it will be way less than the ambitious target set by the highways minister at 40 km per day.
Last year, 8,231 km of highways were constructed, which is the highest in a single fiscal so far.
According to data compiled by the road transport and highways ministry, construction and widening of 4,942 km was completed by November 30, which is about 20.5 km a day. During the same period in the last financial year, construction stood at 4,017 km and the average daily construction was 16.7 km.
“December to March are the most favourable months for road construction across the country. Usually, construction achieved during these months is equivalent to the total building of roads in the first eight months of any financial year.
“We are holding regular reviews and progress is monitored keenly for faster completion of stretches under construction,” a ministry official said.
While increased pace of construction is a positive indicator, the highways ministry is concerned over the fall in award of projects during the first four months of this financial year. Between April and November, work for only 2,927 km was awarded, which is about half of the stretches awarded during the same period in 2016-17.
Ministry officials said NHAI, which has been slow in awarding contracts this year, has floated a large number of tenders and has assured the government that it will meet the target of awarding works for 10,000 km by the end of March.
2017-18: The Top 5 states
The top five states in National Highways construction, 2017-18
The Top 5 states in terms of a network of national highways- 2017-18
23 NH bridges, tunnels over 100 yrs old
17 Of Them Need Major Maintenance, 6,000 Other Bridges Also Safety Hazard
Twenty-three bridges and tunnels on national highways (NHs) are over 100 years old, of which 17 require rehabilitation or major maintenance. As many as 123 other bridges in the country require immediate attention and 6,000 are structurally “distressed“. These are some of the findings of a analysis conducted by the Union road transport and highways ministry under its Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS) project, India's firstever survey of the “health of bridges“, launched last year.
The over-a-century-old structures include the Narmada bridge in Bharuch, Gujarat; two at Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh; and one each at Gulbarga in Karnataka, and Kolhapur and Pimri Chinchwad in Maharashtra.All of these need rehabilitation or major maintenance. After the study, the minis try has found there are about 1.6 lakh structures, including culverts, minor and major bridges and flyovers on India's NH network. Each of the structures has now got a unique identity number under this initiative, and undergo periodic inspection.
Sources said highways minister Nitin Gadkari has asked the ministry , the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the state public works departments, which manage NH stretches, to undertake immediate repair or rehabilitation work on structures that require immediate attention. “He has also instructed that we should go for rehabilitation of the bridges if the cost of repair or strengthening is more than 30% of the cost of the bridge,“ a ministry official said.
Gadkari has also directed the entity dealing with the IBMS to install sensors on bridges on stretches that are largely used for movement of over-dimensional vehicles to carry heavy equipment such as electricity turbine, so that the “health“ of these structures can be assessed in real time.
The highways ministry had rolled out IBMS in early 2016 after realising that there was no centralised list of bridges, and hence it depended on physical reports to undertake repair, maintenance or rehabilitation.
“The need to have this web-based system was felt so that we can take the decision for repair, rehabilitation or dismantling of the structures in advance. The collapse of a bridge or complete closure disrupts the traffic flow on a highway stretch, and these have a ripple effect on other stretches as well,“ said a ministry official.
100 kmph on NHs, 120 kmph on expressways
The highways ministry has approved increasing the speed limit of cars plying on national highways from the existing 80 kmph to 100 kmph. On expressways, the maximum permissible limit for cars will be 120 kmph.
Sources said road transport minister Nitin Gadkari approved the maximum speed limits on Wednesday and a notification will be out soon.
Two-wheelers will be allowed to ply at a maximum speed of 80 kmph on highways and expressways; 90 kmph for trucks and buses on expressway and 80 kmph on national highways.
2018/ Maximum speed limit for expressways increased
The road transport ministry notified the increased maximum speed limit on urban road to 70 kmph while 120 kmph is the new cap for vehicles plying on expressways. The government order came just three weeks before the first expressway built by the Central government around Delhi is scheduled for opening. Till now 50 kmph was the maximum speed limit on urban areas and there was no separate speed norm for expressways.
Part II: The ministry's overview
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LIST OF STATE-WISE NATIONAL HIGHWAYS IN THE COUNTRY8
Sl. Name of State National Highway No. Total Length
No. (in km)
1 Andhra Pradesh 4, 5, 7, 9, 16, 18, 43, 63, 202, 205, 214, 214A, 219, 221 & 222 4472
2 Arunachal Pradesh 52, 52A & 153 392
3 Assam 31, 31B, 31C, 36, 37, 37A, 38, 39, 44, 51, 52, 52A, 2836 52B, 53, 54, 61, 62,151,152,153 &154
4 Bihar 2, 2C, 19, 28, 28A, 28B, 30, 30A, 31, 57, 57A, 77, 80, 81, 82, 3642 83, 84, 85, 98, 99, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 & 110
5 Chandigarh 21 24
6 Chhattisgarh 6, 12A, 16, 43, 78, 111, 200,202, 211, 216 and 217 2184
7 Delhi 1, 2, 8, 10 & 24 72
8 Goa 4A, 17, 17A & 17B 269
9 Gujarat NE-I, 6, 8, 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D, 8E, 14, 15, 59, 113 & 228 3245
10 Haryana 1, 2, 8, 10, 21A, 22, 64, 65, 71, 71A, 71B, 72, 73, 73A , 1512 & NE-II
11 Himachal Pradesh 1A, 20, 21, 21A, 22, 70, 72, 73A & 88 1208
12 Jammu & Kashmir 1A, 1B, 1C &1D 1245
13 Jharkhand 2, 6, 23, 31, 32, 33, 75, 78, 80, 98, 99 & 100 1805
14 Karnataka 4, 4A, 7, 9, 13, 17, 48, 63, 67, 206, 207,209, 212 & 218 3843
15 Kerala 17, 47, 47A, 47C, 49, 208, 212, 213, & 220 1457
16 Madhya Pradesh 3, 7, 12, 12A, 25, 26, 26A, 27, 59, 59A, 69, 75, 76, 78, 86 & 92 4670
17 Maharashtra 3, 4, 4B, 4C, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 16, 17, 50, 69, 204, 211 & 222 4176
18 Manipur 39, 53, 150 & 155 959
19 Meghalaya 40, 44, 51 & 62 810
20 Mizoram 44A, 54, 54A, 54B, 150 & 154 927
21 Nagaland 36, 39, 61, 150 & 155 494
22 Orissa 5, 5A, 6, 23, 42, 43, 60, 75, 200, 201, 203, 203A, 215, 3704 217 & 224
23 Puducherry 45A & 66 53
24 Punjab 1, 1A, 10, 15, 20, 21, 22, 64, 70, 71, 72 & 95 1557
25 Rajasthan 3, 8, 11, 11A, 11B, 11C, 12, 14, 15, 65, 71B, 76, 79, 79A, 89, 5585 90, 112, 113, 114 & 116
26 Sikkim 31A 62
27 Tamilnadu 4, 5, 7, 7A, 45, 45A, 45B, 45C, 46, 47, 47B, 49, 66, 67, 4462 68, 205, 207, 208, 209, 210, 219, 220, 226 & 227
28 Tripura 44 & 44A 400
29 Uttar Pradesh 2, 2A, 3, 7, 11, 12A, 19, 24, 24A, 24B, 25, 25A, 26, 27, 28, 28B, 5874 28C, 29, 56, 56A, 56B, 58, 72A, 73, 74, 75, 76, 86, 87, 91, 91A, 92, 93 ,96, 97 , 119 & NE-II
30 Uttarakhand 58, 72, 72A, 73, 74, 87, 94, 108, 109, 121, 123 & 125 1991
31 West Bengal 2, 2B, 6, 31, 31A, 31C, 31D, 32, 34, 35, 41, 55, 60, 60A, 2524 80, 81 &117
32 Andaman & 223 300 Nicobar
Source : Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Website http:/morth.nic.in/ statedetailsmain.asp