Front Runner States: Leading the way with new road initiatives and opportunities

State governments have a significant sta­ke in the growth of the road sector. Over the past year, the sector experienced ex­peditious growth with the help of enhanced design capabilities and use of modern equipment. The industry witnessed the completion and awarding of multiple projects in various st­ates, despite pandemic pitfalls.

Many states have shown interest in sustainable construction practices and green highways in recent years. To keep carbon emissions low in road construction and maintenance projects, research on India-specific emission factors, eff­ective policy initiatives, and an accurate assessment of the available green technology is req­ui­red. Additionally, engineers are needed to determine which of the available green technologies are sustainable, cost-effective, and best suited to a particular construction project.

Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government has made persi­stent efforts for the expeditious construction of expressways, link roads, ring roads and coastal roads. The state government has set up significant funds for road development. The sector’s finances are also being strengthened by the in­volvement of multilateral institutions and dom­estic sanctions. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) inaugurated seven national highway (NH) projects, valued at Rs 55.69 billion, to expedite the growth of Auran­gabad, along with the road sector. The state plans to add road infrastructure worth Rs 330 bi­llion, of which Rs 260 billion will be utilised to fund the 173 km long Pune ring road.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Develop­ment Authority allocated funds worth Rs 12.2 billion for various road projects in Maharashtra under the 2022-23 budget.

As of September 2022, the Municipal Cor­poration of Greater Mumbai has been allowed to commence partial development work on the ongoing Mumbai coastal road project while observing that sustainable development is an important ingredient in the protection of the environment.

The upcoming length of state roads in Ma­harashtra is approximately 6,800 km. At an estimated cost of Rs 700 billion, the Konkan Greenfield Expressway Project (state highway) is one of the most important upcoming projects. The Versova-Virar Sea Link Project and the Pune Ring Road Project are two other im­p­or­tant state ventures that are being constructed in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode at a cost of Rs 352.35 billion and Rs 238.28 billion respectively.

In 2022-23, three road projects have been completed. These are Package II of the Bor­gaon-Watambare four-laning road project (NH-166), the Kora Kendra flyover, and the Saoner-Dhapewada-Gondkhairi four-laning road project (NH-547E). Additionally, the National High­ways Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed the construction of the Indore Western Ring Road Project in the state.

Uttar Pradesh

The Uttar Pradesh government is making every attempt to enhance infrastructure in the state. Two expressways – the Gorakhpur Link Expre­ssway (91 km) and the Ganga Expressway (594 km) – are currently under construction. Once completed, the state will have 1,788 km of ex­pressways, the highest in the country. Expre­ssways have traditionally been a top priority for the state, as evidenced by the persistent emphasis on them.

In May 2022, NHAI signed two key MoUs to improve national highway infrastructure and preserve the environment in Uttar Pradesh and other states. In the past eight years, NHAI has completed 31 projects totalling 2,100 km in length and worth Rs 1 trillion. The vast majority of these are four- or six-lane highways. Appro­x­imately 50 NHs, totalling about 2,200 km and costing Rs 730 billion, are now being implemented in the state. In the next three to four years, the authority expects to build another 1,800 km at a cost of about Rs 630 billion. In 2022-23, Uttar Pradesh completed 11 NH projects at an anticipated cost of Rs 130 billion.

Recently, the state government outsourced its first road construction project at a premium. It approved the Uttar Pradesh State Highways Au­thority’s plan to award the widening work of State Highway (SH) 46, linking Pukhrayan, Bin­dki and Ghatampur, to Prakash Asphalting & Toll Highways at a cost of Rs 11.36 billion. This is the fourth state highway to be given to private parties for construction, but rather than sharing the cost of enhancing road infrastructure under the public-private partnership model, the state government will be able to generate revenue throu­gh toll collection for the first time.

In the Uttar Pradesh budget 2022-23, a provision of Rs 6.95 billion has been proposed for the 594 km long six-lane Ganga Expressway project from Meerut to Prayagraj. The state’s public works department (PWD) inaugurated two road projects – the Gola-Shah­jah­anpur road stretch (SH-93) and the Lakhimpur-Dudhwa National Park two-laning road project – in July 2022.

In September 2022, the state government granted approval for two-laning 13 highway projects. These 13 projects pass through Fat­eh­pur, Shahjahanpur, Jalaun, Ghazipur, Praya­graj, Varanasi, Bareilly, Mirzapur and Pratap­garh. Apart from these, upcoming state projects span over 2,700 km, and around 1,900 km is already under construction.

Some of the big-ticket upcoming projects are the Bijnore-Moradabad-Fatehgarh expressway project, the Upper Ganga canal expressway project, the Indo (Uttar Pradesh)-Nepal bor­der road project and the Varanasi-Bhadohi-Mach­halishahar four-laning road project (NH-18).

In an effort to rid the state of plastic waste, the Uttar Pradesh Panchayati Raj Department is creating an action plan for garbage collection from 250 sites. This garbage will then be utilis­ed in the construction of roads.

Madhya Pradesh

The pace of road construction in the state has been progressing steadily. Against the constr­uction target for 2022-23, major district roads (MDRs) have achieved 18.9 per cent, national highways are at 13.25 per cent, and state highways have met 6.37 per cent of the target.

The under-construction MDR projects being constructed in EPC mode span around 135.18 km and are estimated to cost around Rs 2.18 billion. There are 18 ongoing operate-maintain-transfer projects spanning 1,019.67 km and costing the concessionaires Rs 1.79 billion.

The upcoming state projects cover over 3,100 km. Some big-ticket projects being developed in EPC mode are the Sidhi-Sing­rauli four-laning road project (NH-39), the Din­dori-Mandla two-laning road project (NH-543), and the Kurwai-Mungaoli-Chanderi two-laning road project (NH-346).

The PWD is also constantly working towar­ds sustainable development of the road network in the state, training teams of engineers to adopt the latest technologies, improving ro­ad geometrics and safety provisions, and rep­lacing existing level crossings by road over-bridges. NHAI has also proposed the construction of the Indore Western Ring Road Project.

Andhra Pradesh

To give a boost to road development in Andhra Pradesh, MoRTH will be spending about Rs 3 trillion on road construction in the next three years.

In a recent development, MoRTH laid the foundation stones for eight NH projects worth Rs 30 billion in Rajamahendravaram, Andhra Pra­desh. Once these projects are completed, they will provide greenfield road connectivity to the Kakinada SEZ, SEZ Port, Fishing Harbour and Kakinada Anchorage port, which will facilitate the export of rice, seafood, oil meals, iron-ore, biofuels, granite, etc. through Kakinada Port.

The upcoming state projects span a little over 1,000 km. One of the major road projects, the Anantapur ring road project is being built in EPC mode at a cost of Rs 6.16 billion.

In sum

As per India Infrastructure Research, the awarded, under-construction and under-bidding leng­th for 2022-23 (as of September 2022) is rou­ghly 57,000 km. Some of the major under-construction projects are the Mumbai-Nagpur Su­per Communication Expressway Project (Sa­m­ruddhi Expressway), the Greater Hyderabad St­rategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) Pro­ject and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Pro­ject. The Bengaluru Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) Pro­ject Phase I is a big-ticket project currently un­der bidding, along with the Duttaluru-Kavali Two-Laning Road Project (NH-167BG). Key projects awarded recently include the Che­nnai Pe­ripheral Ring Road Project and the Gre­e­nfield Kanpur-Lucknow Expressway Project.