The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway has been divided into over 40 construction packages for execution even as the Centre sets the ball rolling on this project.
The project is partly funded through the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
Nine construction companies so far have bagged contracts for building the expressway, to be constructed at Rs 90,000 crore.
Patel Infra, Ashoka Buildcon, Sadbhav Engineering, Apco Infra, Kundu Construction Company (also KCC Buildcon), CDS Construction, Gawar Construction, IRB Infra and Ircon are among those that have bagged projects.
The packages are for the road stretches between Delhi and Jaipur and Vadodara and Surat.
“The idea is to award approximately two to three projects to one company costing about Rs 500 crore each,” an official in the know said.
According to Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, the travel time between the two cities after the completion of this expressway will be 12 hours.
The New Delhi to Mumbai Rajdhani express takes approximately 16 hours.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the construction agency for this project, expects the project to reduce the distance between the national capital and the financial capital by about 12 per cent from the current 1420 km, the length of the existing Delhi-Mumbai highway.
The alignment of the project is such that it passes through the hinterland in Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to enter Maharashtra.
The new alignment for the Delhi to Mumbai road was planned mainly to provide seamless connectivity between the two cities and facilitate movement of freight.
The hinterland route was finalised due to its cost effectiveness, as the expense on land acquisition for the new alignment is significantly lower than what the government would have incurred if it had expanded the existing Delhi-Mumbai corridor.
About 15,000 hectares has been acquired for it at an estimated Rs 25,000 crore. It is roughly one-third of the cost of land on the existing Delhi-Mumbai highway. In March, this year, at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the project Gadkari had said that the project would be completed in three years and has the potential to generate 5 million man-days of employment during construction.
The minister also claimed it would be the most environment friendly expressway with a tree cover of 2 million trees and rainwater harvesting system at every 500 metres.
The Delhi-Mumbai national corridor (NH-8 section of the Golden Quadrilateral) is one of the busiest and most critical routes of the national highway network, witnessing an average traffic of more than 80,000 passenger car units (PCUs) per day.
The NIIF is likely to invest the project along with Amritsar-Jamnagar highway.
As many as 44 economic corridors have been planned under the ambitious the Bharatmala scheme, which will be linked through expressways. The government intends to facilitate seamless trade by reducing the distance between connecting cities, saving cost, time, and fuel.
Besides, Delhi-Mumbai other corridors include Amritsar-Jamnagar, Chennai-Salem, Ambala-Kotputli and Raipur-Vishakhapatnam.
Gadkari, in his second term as the road transport and highways minister, said the expressway would have 1000 petrol pumps, besides wayside amenities, and the work has already commenced for the same.
The Union highway ministry and oil marketing companies are chalking out details to set up these many petrol stations on the expressway.