The first phase of India’s longest expressway, the 1386-kilometer Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, is now open.
The 246-kilometer section, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 12, connects the capital Delhi to Lalsot, a city in the north-western state of Rajasthan.
Travel time between Delhi and Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and a major tourist and manufacturing MSME hub, will now reduce – from 5 hours to 3.5 hours. For using the expressway to travel from Delhi-Jaipur, the total one-way toll for a private car reportedly comes to INR 585. Toll payments will be based on the total number of kilometers travelled.
Better connectivity within the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR)
By February 20, the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will be connected with Faridabad (most populous city in Haryana) by a newly constructed 25 kilometer link road.
Once operational, commuters from Faridabad can directly reach the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and Gurugram (previously called Gurgaon) in 40 minutes, commuters from Palwal would be able to reach Gurugram in 25 minutes, and commuters from Noida would be able to access a shortcut via the KGP and KMP Expressways through Mandkola to reach Gurugram.
Noida is a major satellite city of Delhi in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Gurugram and Faridabad are key satellite hubs in Haryana. Noida, Faridabad, and Gurugram are among India’s premier IT/ITeS and manufacturing hubs.
Infrastructure spend is a top priority for the government
Constructing the Delhi-Dausa-Lalsot section of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway cost INR 121.5 billion (US$1.4 billion) as per a government media release. India’s central government has budgeted INR 10 trillion (US$120.92 billion) for infrastructure projects in 2023-24, five times larger than the budget allocation in 2014.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is, in fact, among marquee projects that come under the PM Gati Shakti Masterplan, which aims to boost last mile connectivity between economic zones in the country.
In the last five years, the central government has prioritized upgrading India’s infrastructure, including modernizing roads, railway stations and tracks, constructing metros and airports, laying optic fiber lines, electricity lines, gas pipelines, and expanding road connectivity through advanced highways and expressways across important economic regions and nationwide.
This massive and planned push to build up India’s infrastructure is necessary and timely, especially since the world’s fifth largest economy seeks to compete with China and Southeast Asian countries for foreign manufacturing investments and establish indigenous supply chain hubs.
What is to come – better connectivity between key states and faster travel times
Upon completion, the 8-lane wide (expandable to 12-lane in future) expressway will reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Delhi by half, to 12 hours.
More importantly, the expressway will improve connectivity between six major industrial regions – Delhi and the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Some prominent tier-2 cities that will be connected by the expressway are Kota and Jaipur (Rajasthan), Indore and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and Vadodara and Surat (Gujarat).
The expressway will have a significant impact on lowering logistics costs, reducing urban traffic congestion, and building up transport efficiency – thereby addressing key irritants that have so far slowed the pace of growth in India’s manufacturing sector. In fact, the expressway is among several planned and upcoming road and multimodal connectivity projects, and altogether will boost India’s overall economic development and investment appeal.
The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will serve 93 PM Gati Shakti economic nodes, 13 ports, 8 major airports, and 8 multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs) along with support for new upcoming greenfield airports, such as Jewar Airport, Navi Mumbai Airport, and the JNPT port. The Expressway will likely catalyze development in all adjoining regions.
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