The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to work with other state governments and ministries to identify the hiccups in rationalizing the state and forest toll plazas. This was stated by NHAI Chairman Raghav Chandra while inaugurating a conference on Roadtech: Sustainable Roads and Highways organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Chandra said maintenance has been getting low priority due to poor capital budgeting, but now the developers are being given incentives not just to build a road but also to maintain it for the life cycle of the concession of the contract.
“Maintaining Operational expenditure is difficult for the Government,” he said, “so we are looking at developing economically efficient corridors. We have identified some 15,000 km of roads where we will convert two lanes to four lanes to increase their economic efficiency by connecting points which have till now been left out.”
Chandra opined that the country should have four-lane access-controlled safe highways with the option of further expansion to six lanes. Further, Greenfield Expressways and Greenfield Corridors should be upgradable with highest quality safety features and land acquisition.
“Mumbai to Kolkata corridor can be made more efficient by creating a new connection of about 665 km; the road transcend from four-lane to two-lane in several places, two-lane to four-lane and zigzag at many places. So, all these need to be rationalized so that traffic can move more efficiently and faster,” said the NHAI Chairman.
Presently, the NHAI is identifying the choke points in cities, and places that require bypasses, flyovers, and interchanges. It has also introduced electronic toll on its corridors and 355 of the 365 toll plazas along the national highways have been given electronic equipment for toll collection.
Chandra also stated that a committee has been set up to look into the issue of quality of paint used in highways. “While the Urban development in our country is good, village development isn’t. The highways suffer because of the poor planning in rural areas,” he said.