March 21, 2023

India’s largest highway project -The Golden Quadrilateral project

“The Golden Quadrilateral project, India’s largest highway project, was launched in 2001 as part of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP).”

The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network that connects India’s four major metropolitan cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, forming a quadrilateral. The Golden Quadrilateral project, India’s largest highway project, was launched in 2001 as part of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP).

The Golden Quadrilateral and the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) are ongoing initiatives aimed at improving India’s road infrastructure. Some future plans for these projects include:

  1. Completion of the remaining stretches: While most sections of the Golden Quadrilateral and the NHDP have been completed, there are still some sections that need to be finished. The government plans to complete these remaining stretches to ensure seamless connectivity across the country.
  2. Upgradation and expansion: To keep up with the increasing traffic and freight movement, the government plans to upgrade and expand the existing highways. This includes widening the existing highways, building new bypasses, and constructing more lanes.
  3. Use of technology: The government plans to use technology to improve road safety and traffic management. This includes the use of intelligent transportation systems, electronic toll collection, and real-time traffic monitoring systems.
  4. Green initiatives: The government plans to incorporate green initiatives in the construction and maintenance of highways. This includes the use of eco-friendly materials and practices, and promoting the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.
  5. New corridors: The government is also considering the development of new corridors to further improve connectivity. One such corridor is the Bharatmala Pariyojana, which aims to build new highways and expressways across the country.

The quadrilateral is 5,846 kilometres long in total, with four and six lane express highways. The project was estimated to cost Rs600 billion ($13.2 billion), but it was completed for roughly half that amount, at Rs308.58 billion. By January 2012, the entire length of the quadrilateral was operational.

For a large country like India to maintain national integration and socioeconomic development, an efficient road network is essential. The National Highway Authority of India maintains a large network of highways in India (NHAI).

These highways account for only 2% of total road infrastructure in the country, but they carry 40% of total national traffic.

The Cities which will get linked by the highway

Phase one of the NHDP is the Golden Quadrilateral highway network project. It connects major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Jaipur (Rajasthan), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra), Bangalore (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Kolkata (West Bengal), and Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).

The Golden Quadrilateral is divided into four parts. National Highway 2 (NH2Section )’s I runs 1,454 kilometres from Delhi to Kolkata. It passes through West Bengal, Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. It connects important cities including Delhi, Faridabad, Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, and Varanasi in these states.

The 1,684 km Section II runs from Kolkata to Chennai. NH6 (Kolkata to Kharagpur), NH60 (Kharagpur to Balasore), and NH5 make up this section (Balasore to Chennai). It travels through West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, among other states.

1,290 kilometres (km) separate Chennai from Mumbai in Section III. It consists of segments of the NH46, NH46A, and NH4 (Mumbai to Bangalore, Bangalore to Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu) (Krishnagiri to nearby Chennai). It travels through Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Section IV runs 1,419 kilometres between Mumbai and Chennai. It is made up of sections of NH 8 (Delhi-Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad-Chittaurgarh), and NH 76. (Chittaurgarh to Udaipur). It runs through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and New Delhi. It serves as a link between major cities such as Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Mumbai.


Highway network planning and construction connecting India’s major cities

The planning for India’s Golden Quadrilateral was completed in 1999. It entailed the construction of a few new express highways as well as the expansion of an existing road to four or six lanes. The project was formally launched in 2001.

It was supposed to be finished by 2006, but land acquisition issues and renegotiations with contractors slowed the project’s progress. By January 2012, the project was nearly finished, with only a few minor sections remaining to be renovated.

Financing and contractors for the Golden Quadrilateral project

Because the Golden Quadrilateral project was so large, it was divided into several sections based on state provinces. Each section’s construction contract was awarded separately.

The project involves  major contractors, like Larsen & Toubro, LG Engg. & Construction, Nagarjuna Construction, a consortium of GVK International and BSCPL, IRCON International, Punj Lloyd, Progressive Construction, ECSB-JSRC, B. Seenaiah & Co., Madhucon Projects, Sadbhav Engg., KMC Construction, the Gujarat Public Works Department, SKEC – Dodsal, MSRDC Mumbai, Skanska Cementation India, Hindustan Construction Company, RBM – PATI, Unitech, CIDBI Malaysia and PATI – BEL.

To finance the project, multiple sources have been used, including Rs200bn from taxes on petrol and diesel, Rs200bn through external assistance, Rs100bn from market borrowings, and Rs40bn from private sector participation. The project has been implemented as a public-private partnership (PPP) between the NHAI and the contractors involved, who will be responsible for toll tax collection during the designated concession period.

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