MoRTH and JICA collaborate to develop guidelines for enhancing mountainous road infrastructure in India

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have joined forces to introduce five guidelines aimed at enhancing mountainous highway infrastructure in India. The guidelines, which have been made possible through JICA’s technical cooperation are designed to ensure high-quality and sustainable highway projects in hilly regions that will improve highway networks and promote economic growth.

Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari released the guidelines during the Inaugural Programme of 225th Indian Roads Congress Mid-Term Council Meeting in Raipur on July 7, 2023. Recognising the critical role that well-maintained highways play in facilitating trade, connectivity, and social development, MoRTH and JICA agreed to implement “Capacity Development Project on Highways in Mountainous Regions” from 2016 to 2022.

The highway development guidelines were prepared through the capacity development project, and they provide technical specifications and best practices for highway development in mountainous regions, covering the topics of:

  • Planning
  • Slope protection and embankment with advanced technology
  • Tunnel on arterial roads in hill area
  • Mountain bridge with advance technology
  • Operation and maintenance

They incorporate international standards and consider local factors as well, ensuring that highway projects in hilly regions meet the specific requirements and challenges of mountainous regions of India. The collaboration between MoRTH and JICA demonstrates a shared commitment to fostering sustainable development and improving the overall quality of highway infrastructure in mountainous regions of India. By referencing these guidelines, highways will be more sustainable and resilient against relentless geographical and geotechnical challenges in hilly regions, ensuring long-term benefit to the road owners, operators, users and the community.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Mitsunori SAITO, chief representative of JICA India stated, “India faces huge challenges in ensuring disaster-resilient road networks in mountain areas. These guidelines are the new symbol of India-Japan cooperation, where India can utilise Japanese technological strength to advance efforts to improve standards of highway development in mountainous regions. I would like to thank the MoRTH for its strong leadership to drive the project forward, especially during the pandemic.

Also, I appreciate the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) for pushing the initiative forward by releasing the guidelines from the Congress, ensuring these guidelines reach a wider audience and benefit the public. A subsequent technical cooperation project “Project for Capacity Development for Maintenance of Resilient Mountainous Highways,” which focuses on capacity building for the operation and maintenance aspect of mountainous highways, is now ongoing. We hope to continue to work closely with MoRTH, National Highways Authority of India, National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, state Public Works Departments for the improvement of hilly highways conditions in India, and to work with the IRC to share and disseminate the experiences.”