Delhi Mumbai Expressway – A leap towards Future
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first leg of the new Delhi-Mumbai Expressway (DME) – the Sohna(Haryana)-Dausa(Rajasthan) section on Saturday 12th February. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that part of the grand 1,350 km long Delhi–Mumbai Expressway, this stretch is expected to bring down the travel time between Delhi and Jaipur, which are distanced at about 280 km, to around two hours.
The 8-lane wide (expandable to 12-lane) under-construction access-controlled expressway connecting India’s national capital New Delhi with its financial hub Mumbai is not just another expressway. In fact after completion it is going to be one of world’s longest access control expressway. Foundation stone for this ambitious project was laid by union minister Nitin Gadkari in presence of Sushma Swaraj & Arun Jaitley on 8 March 2019. The total project value including the land acquisition cost is around ₹1,00,000 crores (~US$13.1 billion). Initially, the expressway will be 8-lane wide with the greenfield-alignment route in backward areas, which will reduce the current 24 hours travel time to 12 hours. The alignment is passing through backward regions of Mewat in Haryana, Dausa in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. This shall give huge impetus to these backward regions opening up gates of opportunities for people. Fruits of it have started showing, he land prices have started going up along the new alignment.
Delhi Mumbai Expressway shall be India’s first most futuristically planed expressway with eye on every detail keeping the future requirements in mind. The express has been most authentically and aesthetically planned with the objective to make it safe, fast and commuter friendly. Following global engineering standards, expressway has no sharp turns, drivers shall have more than 500 mtrs of continues straight visibility. It is our common experience in India that the highway gets congested by the time it is completed. DME has been planned keeping the future traffic expansion in mind. Additional four lanes have been reserved in the middle of the road for future expansion, along with the space for utilities, plantation and public transport on both sides. This expressway, along with Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (Western DFC) will be a vital backbone of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
The expressway will have multiple side spurs in the future, which will help commuters to connect with other major cities which are not directly connected on the main alignment. The work on construction of a 31-km long addition side spur connecting New Noida International Airport in Jewar with Sector-65, Faridabad bypass, Haryana on this expressway has already began. Similarly construction work of Bandikui-Jaipur has also started in March 2022.
Inter Connectivity Web:
Futuristic inter connectivity has also been envisaged in this modern expressway. The DME will be directly connected with various other expressways like Delhi–Noida Direct Flyway(DND Flyway) in Delhi, Western Peripheral Expressway (which will connect it to Delhi-Katra Expressway) in Haryana. It will also connect to Trans-Haryana Expressway via 86.5 km long 6-lane access-controlled greenfield Paniyala–Barodameo Expressway. Kota-Indore Expressway (136 km) will connect it to Hyderabad–Indore Expressway (via Nanded-Akola-Omkareshwar-Indore), which will intersect Mumbai Nagpur Expressway at Akola in Maharashtra. In Gujarat, it will connect to Ahmedabad–Vadodara Expressway and at Ahmedabad it will connect to Ahmedabad-Dholera Expressway. This shall complete the web of connectivity helping drastically improve our logistic efficiency resulting in reducing our logistic cost and making our businesses competitive.
This modern and futuristic expressway has been planned with host of world class features. Many first for India and world too.
Way side amenities:
Keeping the commuters need in mind, the expressway will have Wayside Amenities at 93 places having facilities like ATM, hotels, retail shops, food courts, charging stations for electric vehicles and fuel stations. Aesthetically designed Village Haats are also being built to give encouragements to local handicraft, handloom, fruits and vegetables. This shall also give impetus by developing support system for government’s One District One Product initiative. It will also be the first expressway in India to have helipads and fully equipped trauma centres at every 100 km for accident victims.
A stretch of this expressway is being developed as an e-Highway(electric highway) where trucks and buses can run at a speed of 120 km/hour which will further bring down the logistics cost by 70% as heavy vehicles will run on electricity instead of diesel. The construction of this project has started and is expected to be completed by March 2024.
Making it Environment friendly:
The entire expressway has been designed, keeping ecology, environment and economy in mind. Expressway is being developed as an environment-friendly expressway with a tree cover of 20 lakh trees, watered with drip irrigation along the entire stretch with a rainwater harvesting system at every 500 metres. Expressway will be lit using a mix of power supply from state grids and Solar energy.
Wild life corridor:
To avoid Man-Animal conflict has been the biggest challenge while planning and executing this expressway. A combined length of 2.5 km of this 8-lane wide expressway will run through 5 natural-looking wildlife crossings on the stretches identified as the wildlife corridors between tiger reserves. One of these crossings will be a tunnel in Mukundara Hills National Park, which will be the country’s first 8-lane wide tunnel. This will be the first expressway in India to have wildlife crossings. The crossing over the expressway will have 8 meters tall noise barrier walls on either side, and the uncovered stretch of expressway passing through the wildlife corridor will have 6-foot tall walls on both sides of the expressway to prevent animals and pedestrians from entering to minimize the impact of traffic zipping past at speeds up to 120 km/hour. This expressway runs through Aravalli Wildlife corridors especially affecting corridors between four Tiger Reserves of Rajasthan, namely Sariska Tiger Reserve, Mukundara Hills National Park, Ranthambore National Parkand Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary, all of which are important Tiger reserves of India.
Hi Tech Expressway:
DME shall be India’s most hi-tech highway. Right from toll collection to Intelligent Traffic and incident Management. The highway has been installed with all modern world class intelligent system for better highway management. The authorities shall be able to monitor entire stretch of highway through cameras installed across the expressway. Modern features like, Speed cameras for any speed violation, ANPR cameras for vehicle number plate detection and lane violations shall help better road rules enforcement.
This expressway has already made it to Gunnies Book of World Records even before its operational. In Gujarat, contractor Patel Infrastructure created a world record by laying Pavement quality concrete (PQC) in 2.58 km length in 4-lane width (4×2.58 =10.32 lane km) within 24 hours. The work of laying PQC started on February 1, 2021 at 8 am and ended the next day at 8 am. An 18.75 metre wide German-made Wirtgen concrete paving machine was used in this stretch.
The Delhi Mumbai Expressway has already Asher in multiplier effect for the Indian economy. This 1350 km long single expressway has potential to change India’s infrastructure landscape. With more than 1 lakh crores of investment, the expressway shall bring not only two cities closure but shall bring opportunities, growth and dreams closure. And this precise reason that this futuristic expressway is not just a road its India’s quantum leap to future.
Writer: Vaibhav Dange
Author is an Independent Expert on Infrastructure & Public Policy
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