The first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which includes India’s first 14-lane highway and a 2.5-metre cycle track, will be completed by December 2017, union minister Nitin Gadkari said, on November 14, 2017. It is being completed in a record 14 months, as against the scheduled 30 months, the Road Transport and Highways Minister said.
On completion, the expressway will reduce the travel time from Delhi to Meerut to just 45 minutes, from the 3-4 hours at present, he said. Prime minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the Rs 7,566-crore expressway on December 31, 2015.
Gadkari said 75 per cent work in the first phase of the expressway – from Nizamuddin bridge to Delhi-UP border – is complete. He said the project, which includes a six-lane expressway in the middle and a four-lane highway on both sides, will help curb pollution in Delhi, by diverting the traffic from other states like Uttarakhand. Gadkari said adequate steps, including sprinkling of water, are being taken during the construction of national highways, to minimise pollution. Pollution in Delhi is not only linked to automobiles but to climate change as well and the government is mulling using vacuum cleaners, to remove dust from the roads, he added.
The 8.7-km stretch of the first phase of the project involves vertical gardens being developed on the Yamuna bridge, solar system lighting and drip irrigation for watering plants, besides new 4+4-lane major bridges across the Yamuna. The entry to the expressway will be near CWG Village while the exit will be at Akshardham and Ghazipur. According to officials, 495 slums were rehabilitated for the project and 40,000 saplings are to be planted, in lieu of 3,261 trees removed.
Phase II of the project involves a six-lane expressway and eight-laning from Delhi/UP Border to Dasna for 19.28 kms, while Phase III will involve six-laning of NH-24 for 22.27 kms from Dasna to Hapur. Phase IV will be for 31.70 kms of new greenfield alignment, from Dasna to Meerut. “Considering the volume of traffic and need for connectivity to Meerut and beyond for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, there is urgent need for an expressway between these two places, for the unhindered fast and safe travel from Delhi to Meerut and vice-versa,” Gadkari said.