PM Modi inaugurates first phase of Delhi-Meerut Expressway: India’s first 14-lane national highway has today been partially thrown open to commuters by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway project, once it is complete, will reduce the journey time between Delhi and Meerut to just 45 minutes! PM Modi has today inaugurated a 9 kilometre stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway which the government says has been made in a record time of 18 months as against the earlier estimated time of 30 months. That’s a record 12 months ahead of time! The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is a smart and green highway with several eco-friendly measures and the added benefit of reducing pollution and fuel outgo by virtue of the time it saves. Package-I of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which has been inaugurated today, extends from Nizammudin Bridge to the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Speaking at the inauguration, PM Modi said, “The speed at which this 9-kilometre stretch of the expressway has been made, the same pace will be ensured for the remaining stretch to Meerut and soon we will dedicate that stretch to the nation as well. Once the project is complete, then the distance between Meerut and Delhi will be reduced to just 45 minutes.” We take a look at some interesting facts about India’s first 14-lane national highway and the Delhi-Meerut Expressway project.
1. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will help decongest traffic in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) and hence reduce pollution. The first package has been built at an approximate cost of Rs 842 crore. The entire project is expected to be completed at a cost of Rs 4975.17 crore.
2. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway is a 100% access-controlled, signal-free national highway. As stated above it is India’s first 14-lane national highway. The entire Delhi-Meerut Expressway project will be 82-km long. Out of this 27.74 kilometres will be 14-laned while the rest would be a 6-lane expressway.
3. Just like the Eastern Peripheral Expressway which was also inaugurated today, the Delhi-Meerut Expressway too makes use of solar power. The step is welcome at a time when the world shifts to renewable and environment-friendly forms of power.
4. The first stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway consists of a 6-lane expressway with 4+4 service lane – hence making it a 14-lane highway from Nizamuddin Bridge to UP border. In the first phase, 5 flyovers, 4 underpasses and 4 foot-over bridges have been built. Two new bridges have been made across the Yamuna river.
5. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway has a 2.5-metre-wide cycle track on either side of the highway and a 1.5 metre wide footpath. According to the government, the Delhi-Meerut Expressway would be the first to have dedicated bicycle tracks on the stretch between Delhi and Dasna which is almost 28 kilometres long. Interestingly, NHAI has commissioned artists to paint and beautify the pillars and walls of underpasses of the newly built stretch of the expressway.
6. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway has vertical gardens – a step aimed at reducing the overall pollution levels. The watering of plants on the expressway will be done through the drip irrigation system. In the first package, a vertical garden has been made at the Yamuna Bridge.
7. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway project eventually aims to connect Delhi-NCR to Meerut, western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The entire project envisages building 11 flyovers/interchanges, 3 rail-over-bridges, 5 major and 24 minor bridges, 36 vehicular and 14 pedestrian underpasses. Around 5.91 kilometres of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be an elevated section. The project has been divided into 4 packages: Nizamuddin bridge to UP border (8.36 km), UP border to Dasna (19.28 km), Dasna to Hapur (22.27 km), Green-field alignment of Delhi-Meerut Expressway from Dasna to Meerut (31.78 km).