The National Highways Authority of India will bid out the works for a greenfield expressway between Lucknow and Kanpur in the next two months. The work will start by May this year. This 63-km expressway to be built at Rs.4,200 crore is the one of the first six greenfield expressways which the government has identified under the first phase of its flagship Bharatmala Pariyojna.
Responding to a supplementary question during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Union road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari said the land acquisition is nearly complete for this project and the alignment has been fixed. “We will start the work in the next three months,” he said.
The expressway will be of 4/6 lanes and can be expanded to six lanes. According to an estimate, around 25,000 vehicles will use this stretch and the new road would help reduce the congestion on the existing NH connecting the two cities in Uttar Pradesh.
In a paradigm shift, the government has given top priority to building of greenfield expressways and highways over the expansion of existing highways, to accelerate high quality road development under the Bharatmala programme. A total of 23 such road networks are being developed under this scheme.
Gadkari, in response to another question in the Upper House, said his ministry has set the target to set up 1,000 accredited driver training schools to train drivers. “We lose 1.5 lakh people annually in 5 lakh road crashes and that’s higher than the lives that Covid claimed. We are taking steps to take care of our drivers. Unfortunately, we don’t have a strict norm on how many hours a driver should be behind the wheels. Western countries have such rules,” he said.
According to a draft rule issued by Gadkari’s ministry regarding the accreditation of driver training centres, anybody who successfully completes driver training from such centres will be exempted from taking a driving test while applying for a driving licence at the Regional Transport Offices. Such centres will have to adhere to robust training norms, automated testing facilities and there will be frequent third party audits.