India’s Longest Expressway Just Got Inaugurated In Style. Here’s What We Know.
India’s Longest Expressway Just Got Inaugurated In Style. Here’s What We Know.An IAF Sukhoi lands on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. Photo: Anshul Saxena/Twitteri

India’s longest Expressway, connecting Agra to the state capital at Lucknow will be open to the public from today. Traversing a distance of 302km, the expressway has been built in a record time of 23 months.

Built by the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Authority (UPEIDA) at a cost of Rs.11526.73 crores, it is a 6 lane, concrete expressway connecting the two terminal cities with Firozabad and Kannauj on the way. It also connects to the existing Nodia-Agra Yamuna Expressway, thus providing a continuous express route from Delhi to Lucknow.

The new expressway is expected to reduce travel time between Agra and Lucknow to 3-4 hours from the current 6 hours. This will greatly reduce travel time on various corridors in the north, such as Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Lucknow, as well as other routes leading to the south, towards Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

To mark the inauguration, today at Unnao, 50km away from Lucknow, 8 fighter jets from the Indian Air Force will skim the expressway. Four Sukhois from Bareilly and four Mirage 2000s from Gwalior will perform a simulated landing on the expressway.

Earlier, on Friday night, aircraft were trialling landings on a 3.3km stretch marked for emergency landings due to the lack of airfields. Earlier, the Indian Air Force had conducted landing exercises on the Yamuna Expressway in 2015.

On the roads front, this is a landmark achievement for both the roads sector and the Akhilesh Yadav-led Government of Uttar Pradesh. Completing a 285km long, six lane, concrete road in 23 months is indeed an achievement. Further, this road connects the State Capital with various industrial centres as well as the National Capital, allowing faster movement of passenger traffic, goods and services, giving a boost to the states’ economy. It will certainly benefit both the urban and rural populace of the state.

One hopes that other states too will learn from this. Maharashtra set the bar high when it finished the Mumbai Pune Expressway in 2002, providing high-speed connectivity between not only Mumbai and Pune, but also other cities like Kolhapur, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Unfortunately, no new expressways have been built in the state since then. Karnataka’s NICE corridor connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru has been stuck as well. The Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway, completed in 2003, has not yet seen much capacity addition, with its long pending extension to Mumbai in the South still on paper. The 800km long Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, although slow, seems to be on the right track with tenders, studies, land acquisition being conducted already. Newer expressways will provide connectivity to rural settlements, giving them access to urban areas and newer markets. We just hope that our governments don’t falter too much.

Further Reading

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