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India's national highway network to increase to 200,000 km

The Indian government has decided to increase the national highway cover from the current 96,000 km to 200,000 km to address rising vehicle congestion and diversify traffic in the country.

According to a formula based on the vehicular traffic movement, the project includes development of four-lane, six-lane and express highways, said Nitin Gadkari, the minister for roads and highways.

At present, India has a total road length of 5.2 million km, but as much as 40 per cent of the traffic moves on national highways constituting just two per cent of the total road length. As a result, 500,000 accidents take place every year, Gadkari said.

According to him, 300,000 people get injured and 150,000 are killed in accidents on existing national highways.

Gadkari also said that in Uttar Pradesh, the total length of national highways was 8,483km of which 4,500km was with the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and 3,134km was with state Public Works Department. In the next two months, the length will be doubled to 17,000km.

Additionally, two new highways will be developed in the state. The first one is the east-west highway, to be developed at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore. This is aimed at reducing Delhi’s traffic by 50 per cent.  The second one is from Delhi to Dasna, which would be 14-lane, a first in the country.

The government has also planned an access control highway connecting Lucknow to Kanpur, which would reduce travel time between the two cities to 40 minutes.