Expect 150 kmph Without a Jolt?
Highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday raised the bar for developers of the 10,000-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE): “I will come here again and have my car go at 150 kmph. I will pour tea into a cup to see whether a single drop spills over to assess the quality of work.“He said this test of quality was not a first for him as he had subjected the newly built Mumbai-Pune expressway to the same assessment. “I had done so while sharing the car with the chiefs of L&T and Hindustan Construction Company. I had told them that if a single drop spilled over, I won’t spare anyone,“ he said highlighting the need to build smooth highways that ensure full comfort to commuters since they pay for using the roads.
Gadkari said NHAI will consider adding a layer of bitumen on concrete highways to prevent tyre bursts and crashes as is done some road stretches abroad. “Our target is to make this expressway the safest for pedestrians, cyclists, motor-cyclists and other vehicle users. Enough underpasses and over-bridges have been provided all along,“ he said.
Soon after taking charge Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the NHAI to focus on making the ride on highways “enjoyable“.
Gadkari was talking to reporters after an aerial survey of the 135 km stretch, which is being built to reduce congestion and rid Delhi of polluting trucks. Though the work on this stretch had started in May last year, it has made 60% progress in the just 11 months. Nearly 40 km road has been already laid. The minister said the effort is to complete the entire stretch by August against the original deadline of next March.
However, sources said the work is likely to be completed by this year end since land is not yet available for construction on certain stretches. “But we are seeing fastest ever pace of construction in this project.NHAI and ministry have taken it in mission mode to set the record of building an expressway in record time. The least time for building any highway stretch has been toward-a-half years,“ said an engineer of a construction company associated with the project.
Gadkari said he has asked Haryana government and the private contractor to fast-track construction of the remaining portion of Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE). The two expressways have been designed to work as bypass for Delhi. So far the stretch between Manesar and Palwal of WPE has been completed.