The Palwal-Manesar stretch of Haryana's ambitious Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway was opened for traffic on Tuesday.
The nearly 53-km stretch was inaugurated by union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Palwal, 65 km from New Delhi.
The original deadline for the 136-km KMP expressway was July 2009 but the project got mired in controversies and litigation with deadlines being continuously extended. The project has now been given a new completion deadline of August 2018.
The expressway project is expected to help ease traffic flow, especially of heavy vehicles, through the national capital. It will pass through five districts in Haryana -- Sonipat, Jhajjar, Gurgaon, Mewat and Palwal.
The Palwal-Manesar stretch has been completed at a cost of Rs.457.81 crore in a record time of 11 months, Khattar said at the opening of the expressway.
"Now the NH-2 (Delhi-Agra) has been connected with NH-8 (Delhi-Jaipur), facilitating vehicles to go easily from NH-2 to NH-8 without entering Delhi. This stretch has four toll barriers. Though the stretch has been opened for traffic from today, but as of now, toll is not being charged," a Haryana government spokesman said.
The remaining part of the expressway, linking Kundli (near Sonipat) with Manesar (near Gurgaon), is under construction.
Gadkari said the central government was laying emphasis on improving road and highways infrastructure. He said the government was also inclined to promote inland waterways.
The significance of the KMP expressway is that it will connect four major national highways, NH-1 (Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar), NH-2 (Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Dankuni), NH-8 (Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Mumbai) and NH-10 (Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka-India-Pakistan border).
It will significantly reduce traffic from north Indian states to central, western and south India and vice versa.
The earlier concessionaire, KMP Expressway Limited, failed to complete the work even up to December 2014, despite warnings from the Haryana government.
The previous Congress government in Haryana, led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, had launched the ambitious project.
Gadkari on Tuesday also said the remaining part of KMP expressway, connecting Manesar with Kundli, will be constructed with concrete and a communique in this regard would be sent to the Haryana government.
He said the concrete construction will not need maintenance for the next 50 years and the drive will also be smooth and hassle-free.
The minister also announced an elevated road as part of NH-2 passing through Palwal city, and an overbridge to be constructed across the Yamuna river on Hasanpur road.
Stressing that passenger and freight movement through inland waterways was cheaper than by road or train, he announced that an inland waterways project would be started in six months in Palla village in Faridabad district of Haryana to Wazirabad in Delhi.
The government will invest Rs.1 lakh crore on establishing inland waterways, he added.
He said the government plans to launch electric cars to reduce pollution levels.
A 12.3 km pod car project will start in Gurgaon by June 1, he said.
The pod car system will initially run from the Delhi-Gurgaon border to Sohna Road in Gurgaon.
This will help bring down the number of road accidents, and also considerably reduce pollution, Gadkari added.