• With over 3.3 million km of roadways, India has the third largest road network in the world (behind USA and China)
  • India has about 65,500 km of National Highways, 130,000 km of State Highways and 4.67 million km of District Roads and 2.65 million km of rural and urban roads
  • India has the highest density of highways in the world (0.66 km of highway per sq km of territory)
  • India’s road networks carry nearly 65% of freight traffic and 85% of passenger traffic in the country
  • Traffic on roads is growing at about 7-10% per annum while number of vehicles is growing about 12% per annum

Grand Trunk Road

  • The Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) is one of the oldest and longest roads in the Indian subcontinent
  • It runs from Sonargaon (near Dhaka) in Bangladesh to Peshawar in Pakistan, covering a distance of 2500 km
  • In India, it runs through Kolkata, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Delhi, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar
  • The stretch between Kolkata and Kanpur is designated NH-2, the stretch between Kanpur and Delhi NH-91, and between Delhi and Wagah NH-1
  • The Grand Trunk road was commissioned by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century to connect Agra with Sasaram (Bihar). It was later expanded by the British to run from Bengal to Peshawar
  • The Grand Trunk Road is now part of the Golden Quadrilateral project




National Highways

  • The National Highways are the primary long distance roadways in India
  • There is about 65,500 km of National Highways in India, of which about 200 km have been designated as Expressways
  • The National Highways constitute only 2% of total roadways in India, but carry about 40% of the total traffic
  • The longest National Highway in NH-7, which runs from Varanasi to Kanyakumari (about 2369 km). The shortest National Highway is NH-47A, which runs from Ernakulam to Kochi Port (about 6 km)
  • The Leh-Manali Highway is the highest highway in the world (average elevation of about 5000 m). It connects Leh in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) with Manali in Himachal Pradesh. The Highway passes through some of the highest mountain passes in the world including Rohtang La, Baralacha La, Lachulung La and Tagland La


National Expressways

  • National Expressways make up about 200 km of the National Highways network
  • The major difference between Highways and Expressways in India, is that the latter have controlled access (i.e. entry and exit only at certain specific locations)
Expressway Connected cities Length Notes
Western Expressway Mumbai suburbs 25 km
Eastern Expressway Mumbai-Thane 23 km
Sion Panvel Expressway Mumbai suburbs 25 km 12 lanes expressway

(6 in each direction)

National Expressway 1 Ahmadabad-Vadodara 90 km First Expressway in India

Part of Golden Quadrilateral

Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway Delhi-Gurgaon 28 km Part of Golden Quadrilateral
Mumbai-Pune Expressway Mumbai-Pune 93 km Part of Golden Quadrilateral

India’s first 6 lane, concrete, high-speed, tolled, access controlled Expressway



State Highways

  • State Highways refers to the highways laid and maintained by the state governments
  • These State Highways usually connect important cities, towns, district headquarters within the State, and with important places in other states
  • They also link important cities of a state with the National Highways and State Highways of neighbouring states
  • There is about 130,000 km of State Highways in India
  • State Highways are designated SH

District Roads

  • District Roads are important roads within a district connecting areas of production with their markets
  • They also connect the towns with each other and with State and National Highways
  • District Roads also connect Taluka headquarters with District headquarters in various regions of a state
  • There is about 4.7 million km of District Roads in India
  • District Roads are administered by the state governments

Rural and urban roads

  • Rural and urban roads (especially rural) form the largest chunk of road networks in India: about 2.65 million km
  • Rural roads are essential for transporting agricultural produce and products of small scale industries to their markets in villages, towns and cities
  • In order to facilitate the development of rural roads, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has been established
  • Rural and urban roads are administered by the concerned local governments (Panchayats, Municipal Corporations etc)



National Highways Development Project (NHDP)

  • The NHDP is a project to upgrade, rehabilitate and widen major highways in India to a higher standard
  • The project was commissioned in 1998
  • The NHDP builds on existing National Highways and improves them to better standards
  • The NHDP is being implemented in a phased manner consisting of seven phases.
  • The NHDP consists of two important components

    The NHDP is implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)


    • Golden Quadrilateral: This is Phase I of the NHDP. The Golden Quadrilateral connects New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. Total length is 5846 km. It was completed (to a large extent) in 2003
    • North-South East-West Corridor: This is Phase II of the NHDP. The NSEW Corridor connects Srinagar with Kanyakumari and Silchar (Assam) with Porbandar (Gujarat). Total length is 7300 km. It is currently under construction. The North-South and East-West corridors meet at Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh)

Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in the North East Region

  • Programme approved in 2009
  • Implemented by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  • The programme aims to provide connectivity to all state capitals and district headquarters in the North East region
  • The programme includes upgrading of other stretches of National Highways and state highways considered critical for economic development


Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

  • Launched 2000
  • Implemented by Ministry of Rural Development
  • The PMGSY is a nationwide plan to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages
  • The goal of the PMGSY is to provide connectivity to all villages

    In order to monitor the implementation of the programme, the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC) developed the Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting Scheme (OMMAS), which has grown to become one of the largest computer database in India


    • With a population of at least 1000 by 2003
    • With a population of at least 500 by 2007
    • In hill states, tribal and desert area villages with population of at least 500 by 2003
    • In hill states, tribal and desert area villages with population of at least 250 by 2007


Central Road Fund

  • Established in 1998
  • The primary objective of the Fund is to provide financing to meet the challenges of accelerated funding requirement of road development projects
  • To support the Fund, an additional duty of Rs 0.50 per litre was levied on petrol and high speed diesel
  • Of this revenue, 50% goes for development of rural roads, and the other 50% for development of National Highways and other roads



National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

  • Established 1988, headquarters New Delhi
  • The NHAI is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of National Highways in India
  • The NHAI is currently implementing the NHDP
  • Functions under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways


National Institute for Training of Highway Engineers (NITHE)

  • Established 1983, located Noida
  • The NITHE is the apex training institute for training highways and bridge engineers in the country
  • The objectives of the NITHE include

    The NITHE also conducts training programmes for engineers from other Central and state government departments, PSUs and private enterprises


    • Impart training to engineers
    • Assist other organisations in developing their own training institutions
    • Promote cooperation and knowledge exchange in the field of highway engineering between engineers in India and abroad
  • Functions under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways


Central Road Research Institute (CRRI)

  • Established 1948, location New Delhi
  • Functions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science of Technology
  • The primary objective of the Institute is to provide research, technical and consultancy services in the areas of highways engineering, bridge engineering, geotechnical engineering, and traffic and transport plannin

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