NEW DELHI: After a year-long delay, the Delhi-Meerut expressway project will kick off by this month-end.

The drive from Delhi to Meerut will take just 45 minutes once the Delhi-Meerut Expressway is ready. The tender for the project will be up for bidding in next few weeks and the 64-km long expressway is likely to be completed by 2015.

In what will be a major relief to 1.31 lakh passenger cars plying between Delhi and Ghaziabad border, the first 8km of the expressway from Nizamuddin Bridge to Ghaziabad border will have 16 lanes.

As per the final plan, the expressway will cover 28km of NH-24 between Ghaziabad border and Dasna and this stretch will be widened to 14 lanes from present six lanes. After this, a 36-km stretch between Dasna and Meerut will be constructed as a four-lane highway. At present, it takes over two-and-a-half hours to commute between Delhi and Meerut due to the congestion on NH-58 which passes through Ghaziabad, Muradnagar and Modi Nagar.

The project was scheduled to be awarded in the last financial year. The central government had conceptualized the corridor five years ago to provide nonstop connectivity between the two cities as a part of the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP)-VI. Though earlier, there was a proposal to widen the existing NH-58 to eight lanes, later the National Highways Authority of India replaced it with the plan to construct the expressway, partially on a new alignment.

The NHAI has already finalized the alignment. Sources said the land acquisition process for this project is under way. Highways ministry officials said the tender would be floated soon and the project would be awarded by November this year.

"This project will transform the way lakhs of people commute between Delhi and Meerut. We are awarding the expressway as a part of a package that includes construction of a six-lane road between Delhi border and Meerut bypass, besides a connecting road and a children's park. The composite project will improve the connectivity to the expressway," said minister of state for road transport and highways, Jitin Prasad.

All four packages of the project would cost close to Rs 4,500 crore. The expressway would be an access controlled highway and all traffic signals and crossings would be done away with. Besides this, all slow-moving traffic including two-wheelers and three-wheelers would not be allowed to ply on the expressway. The speed limit on the expressway will be 90kmph.
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