National Highways Construction in India
By the end of August 2011, India had around 71,000 kilometers of National Highways which connected all the major cities and state capitals.
Most of these highways are in 2 lanes.
Around 10,000 kilometers have been converted to 4 lanes and around 19,000 kilometers roads are still single laned.
The Leh-Manali Highway, connecting Shimla to Leh in Ladakh is world’s second highest-altitude motor highway.
New Numbering System in National Highways
From April 2010, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had adopted a new systematic numbering of National Highways. This new system will indicate the direction of National Highways whether it is East-West (odd numbers) or North-South (even numbers) and also the geographical region where it is located, increasing from east to west and from north to south.
The new scheme is thus based upon:
Geographic location of the highway.
As per this system, all the north-south oriented highway have even numbers increasing from the east to the west and all east-west oriented highways will be odd numbered increasing from the north to the south of the country.
As per this scheme , the single longest national highway is NH 44 which will run from Srinagar to Kaniyakumari.
The shortest Highway is 966B,in Kerala from Kundannur in NH 66 in Eranakulam to Wellington Island(Port). The distance is 5.9 km only.
The map is available on this link
As we know, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for management of a network of National Highways in India. The Authority is a statutory authority, established by National Highways Authority of India Act, 1988. It was made autonomous in 1995. It is responsible for the development, maintenance, management and operation of National Highways, totalling over 70,548 km.
National Highway Development Project (NHDP) is being implemented by NHAI. It is currently in Phase 4.
The Phase I began in 2000 under the NDA Government and 8,917km National Highway was built during NDA rule.
17,236 km was built during UPA-I tenure and 10,000km under UPA-II as of now.
NHAI is also helping in implementation of the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North Eastern Region (SARDP-NE). SARDP-NE is a project to upgrade National Highways connecting state capitals to 2 lanes or 4 lane in north eastern region.
Please note that UPA-2 had fixed a target to build 7,000km of roads a year. This target may be achieved soon. Against target of 7,300km of national highways, NHAI has awarded 2,591km; another 2,659 km to be awarded in 4 months in this year. Construction of highways, which had dipped to dismal levels in the past few years, has picked up pace and official data shows that 11km of roads are being added every day currently.