With the aim to provide a world-class National Highway network and to create a bridge between technical institutions and industry, the National Highways Authority of India has joined hands with IITs, NITs and other premier institutes to leverage local expertise.
In an overwhelming response, as many as 18 IITs (including IIT Roorkee, IIT Bombay, IIT Varanasi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur), 26 NITs and 190 other reputed engineering colleges have agreed to collaborate with NHAI — out of which about 200 Institutes have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
NHAI has said that it had introduced a unique initiative to associate with reputed technical institutes and engineering colleges to adopt nearby stretches of National Highways, on voluntary basis under Institution Social Responsibility.
Over 300 institutes are expected to collaborate to adopt NH stretches.
According to NHAI, the adopted stretches may be used as a field of study for faculty, researchers and to familiarise students of the institute with the latest trends in industry and suggest the relevant performance parameters and innovations.
Under this initiative, the partner institutes will study improvement prospects in road safety, maintenance, riding comfort, removal of choke points, black spots and usage of new technologies on the adopted stretches and give suitable suggestions to NHAI.
The institutes, NHAI stated, are also encouraged to associate with the consultants/NHAI during conceptualisation, design and project preparation of new projects and suggest the relevant performance parameters and innovations based on experience specific to the local climate, topography and resource potential for better socio economic outcomes.
The areas of collaboration for improving the efficiency of existing highways include improvements in safety provisions by removing existing deficiencies and offering potential solutions to old recurring problems based on local experience.
It also includes improvements in continual maintenance of the stretches and improving the riding comfort through cost effective measures based on innovative technologies.
Localised solutions for removal of congestion points and thereby increasing the average traffic speed and viability of new wayside amenities for road users based on the existing traffic patterns and user expectations are other areas for collaboration.
NHAI shall also offer internships to 20 undergraduates and 20 postgraduate students with stipend. The initiative will result in a win-win outcome to both the NHAI and institute and will also instill a sense of contribution in building infrastructure among the student fraternity.
NHAI envisions providing a world-class NH network to meet the nation’s requirements by building a large number of mega highway projects in a cost-effective manner.
Adoption of NH stretches by an institute would facilitate stakeholder engagement and help mitigate the routine local problems such as traffic hindrance, congestion, and immediate identification of accident-prone sites and causes thereof.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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