Update: Due to delay in completion of the project, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway will now be inaugrated in the month of April instead of January.
This January, Delhi will take another step towards solving its traffic-congestion woes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India’s first smart and green highway, the Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE).
Built at the cost of nearly Rs 11,000 crore to decongest the national capital, the 135-km-long access-controlled expressway envisages signal-free connectivity between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (Greater Noida) and Palwal.
The National Highways Authority of India is currently dealing with specific clearance issues, and the project is on track for completion soon, according to an NHAI official.
Consuming nearly, 5 lakh tonne of cement and 1 lakh tonne of steel, the project has an intelligent Highway Traffic Management system (HTMS), and video incident detection system (VIDS), and a closed tolling system, which collects tolls based on the distance travelled, and not the entire length.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters,
“This will be a fully access controlled six-lane expressway and entry and exit will be through designated interchanges only. There will be closed tolling system and the toll will be collected only on the distance travelled and not on the entire length. Toll plazas will be equipped with Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system for faster toll collection and uninterrupted travel experience.
In the Economic Times, he also claims that the project will be suitably landscaped, replete with 2.5 lakh trees and lit by solar panels.
The expressway will divert around 2 lakh vehicles passing through the national capital, cutting out pollution. The expressway will also consume a million tonnes of fly ash from NTPC’s various thermal plants, thus minimising pollution.
According to Gadkari, all information the expressway’s systems collect will be relayed to a central server, in a control room, which will trigger alarms and change VMS messages, resulting in real-time incident management.
Along the expressway’s length, there will be wayside amenities like petrol pumps, rest areas, hotels, restaurants, shops, repair services, etc. There will be provision for rainwater harvesting every 500 metres on either side of the Expressway, with watering of the plants being done via drip irrigation.
At every 2.5 km, there will be toilets-keeping in line with the Swach Bharat Mission. The massive initiative will have 8 interchanges, 4 flyovers, 71 vehicle underpasses, and 6 RoB’s—a total of 400 structures, out of which two major bridges are on the rivers Yamuna and Hindon.
The project commenced in September 2015, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone.
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A smart and green highway, which clears up Delhi’s clogged streets is sure to come as a welcome relief, to the city’s residents. The project has also sparked possibilities for development of industrial and business sectors, and after its completion, will allow motorists to bypass Delhi for mutual transit to UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir.
Speaking to the Economic Times, Gadkari said, “Eastern Peripheral Highway is just the beginning. We will make 12 such express highways. Three of such highways were started in 2017 itself.”