Eastern Peripheral Expressway may be ready by August
If the words of Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari hold true, the country's first smart and green highway — Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE), which was conceived to decongest Delhi traffic, would be completed in August this year.
The minister also announced the construction of about 12 new expressways in the coming years to connect various states in the country, of which three will be started in 2017.
According to the minister, if all goes as per plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation the 135-km, the nearly Rs 11,000 crore access-controlled six-lane expressway from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day.
"We are hopeful that the project would be completed in August this year. We doing our best to complete this project on time as the government has spent a huge Rs 5,900 crore on land acquisition, while the project cost is Rs 4,400 crore," Gadkari said, adding that once complete, it would reduce traffic congestion in Delhi and will have the best automatic traffic management system, landscaping, in addition to wayside amenities.
The expressway will be illuminated by solar panels and a total of about 2.5 lakh trees of various species are proposed to be planted. The toll collection system would different from the existing ones as the toll would be calculated only on the distance travelled and not on the entire length. Also, the toll plazas would be equipped with electronic toll collection (ETC) system for faster toll collection and uninterrupted travel experience. Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of this greenfield project on November 5, 2015. Once complete it will divert around 2 lakh vehicles passing through the national capital daily to this bypass, cutting out pollution, Gadkari said after inspecting the project sites in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
The EPE would set a benchmark in highway construction by being environment-friendly with world-class safety features and smart infrastructure, the minister said, adding that the project which was started on September 14, 2015, will consume a million tonnes of fly ash from NTPC's various thermal plants to utilise waste and minimise pollution.