Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, wants to take India’s national highways to international standards, and drastically bring down the travel time between key cities.
In line with this, he has said the government will roll out a new policy in three months to replace toll plazas with GPS-based tracking toll systems. Already, international companies interested in the project have made presentations, media reports quoted him as saying.
GPS system in lieu of toll booths
The new system will so drastically bring down the travel time on highways that it would take just two hours each to travel from Delhi to Dehradun, Haridwar or Chandigarh. Further, in six months, a Delhi-Jaipur road trip would need just 90 minutes, a Times Now report quoted him as saying.
Within a year, the Centre expects to introduce 100% GPS-enabled toll collection, which would leave toll booths redundant.
“I want to assure the House that within one year all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles),” Gadkari reportedly told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour in March 2021.
However, a push to improve highway facilities would require cooperation from road construction companies, said the Minister. He urged the companies to try and reduce costs by bringing down the use of cement and steel with the help of innovations.
Economic corridor project
Easing highway travel further, the proposed 10-lane Bengaluru-Mysuru Economic Corridor is likely to be completed by October 2022, Gadkari tweeted. This project is seen to bring down the travel time between the two Karnataka cities by half, from 3 hours to one-and-a-half hours.
10-lane Bengaluru-Mysuru Economic Corridor is being constructed at record speed. Rs 8172 Cr economic corridor is likely to be completed by October 2022. It will reduce the travel time between the two cities by half from current 3 hours to only 90 minutes. #PragatiKaHighway pic.twitter.com/6RW4zv1LnY
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) August 11, 2021
The ₹8,172 crore project, also known as the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway, has been delayed due to the pandemic. Phase one of the project, under the Bharatmala Pariyojana scheme, started in May 2019, covering the 56 km stretch between Bengaluru and Nidaghatta, Maddur. The 61 km second phase, which started in December 2019, links Nidaghatta with Mysuru.
Bhopal-based Buildcon Ltd, which is handling the construction work, has been told to complete it in 30 months.
The Road Ministry is also envisaging 8,000 km of inter corridors and 7,500 km of feeder routes as part of the highway project to enhance its effectiveness. This involves the construction of ring roads, bypasses and elevated corridors to lighten city traffic.