The nondescript villages of Chand Sarai in Lucknow and Haidariya in Ghazipur will be the two ends of the country’s longest expressway. The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has finalised details of the 341-km long Purvanchal Expressway, which will be constructed at an estimated cost of ₹13,186 crore by the end of 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone of the project in February or March. Uttar Pradesh has secured assurances from banks for a loan of ₹15,000 crore for the project, of which ₹2,000 crore has already been released, an indication that lack of finances will not come in the way of completing the project in the targeted 30 months.
Besides being the country’s longest six-lane expressway, linking Uttar Pradesh’s capital to the state’s eastern end, the other unique selling point of the highway is that it will connect the state’s ‘three temple towns’ of Varanasi, Ayodhya and Allahabad.
While Varanasi will be connected through a widened NH that will crisscross the expressway, the state’s Public Works Department will build a link road to Ayodhya from the expressway. The state government has also decided to build a new link expressway that will branch out of the Purvanchal Expressway and go till Allahabad. The government is also doing pre-feasibility study to link the expressway to the chief minister’s home town of Gorakhpur, besides a link up with the new Bundelkhand Expressway being built from Jhansi to Kushinagar.
“This expressway will bring about development of eastern districts by connecting these to the state capital and further to Agra and national capital Delhi through Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Yamuna Expressway. The expressway has the potential to be linked with Patna–Buxar National Highway (NH 922) at Bharauli through NH 19/31,” the state government has said in a request for qualification document, inviting bids through international competitive bidding for constructing the expressway.
Work is expected to start on the Purvanchal Expressway this April, with the entire stretch being divided into eight packages of 28-54 km each, which could be awarded to different companies. The six-lane expressway will be designed for speeds of 120 km/hr with the option of converting it to eight-lane.