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Business News/ News / Govt expects record road construction in FY24
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Govt expects record road construction in FY24

The government has set an aspirational target to construct 13,814 km of highways in FY24 and has reached 7,685 km level till January. The ministry expects to complete construction of 9,500 km new highway alignments this fiscal year.

Till January, out of total highway construction of 7,685 km, only 1,556 km are strengthening projects and the rest is fresh additions. Bloomberg NewsPremium
Till January, out of total highway construction of 7,685 km, only 1,556 km are strengthening projects and the rest is fresh additions. Bloomberg News

The government expects to end the financial year 2023-24 with highest ever capacity addition of highway projects that will surpass even the record construction levels seen in the pandemic year 2020-21.

According to Anurag Jain, the secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways, the ministry expects to complete the construction of 9,500 km of new road projects that would add fresh capacity to the country’s highway network.

The government has set an aspirational target to construct 13,814 km of highways in FY24 and has reached 7,685 km level till January this year. Jain said that on an overall level, the construction should reach 12,500 km to 13,000 km this year, of which 9,500 km would be actual capacity addition and the rest will be road strengthening projects. 

This would be the highest ever level, even higher than fiscal year 2020-21 when the new record of overall highway construction was created with 13,327 km being built during FY21 but it had only around 8,400 km new capacity addition while the balance 4,900 km was road strengthening projects. 

“Capacity augmentation projects are the ones that add fresh road capacity to the network and is the right barometer to measure what kind of work is being done in the sector," he said. 

“Beyond this, there are highway strengthening projects that don’t add fresh capacity but repair and remodel the existing networks. In the record year FY21, we added around 8,500 km of capacity augmenting projects while this year we hope to touch closer to 9,500 km, the highest ever level," Jain said.

Till January, out of total highway construction of 7,685 km, only 1,556 km are strengthening projects and the rest is fresh additions. 

Jain said that FY24, coming just ahead of the general elections, has not slowed down the construction and the year is expected to see the highest ever addition of four-lane highways and development of highest ever high speed and access-controlled highways. 

Construction of four-lane roads up to January this year is also 2.5 times more than annual achievement in FY14, also a pre-election year, he said. 

Asked whether the coming elections followed by monsoon months would slow down highway construction in FY25, Jain said that there was a big pipeline of projects that should ensure construction activities to remain closer to FY24 levels even next year.

He said that actual annual highway construction should remain in 12,000-13,000 km range over the next decade after which overall construction may slow down a bit as most highways required in the country would have been built and the focus would shift to maintenance than large scale construction.

Under Vision 2047 plan, the ministry of road transport and highways is targeting to construct 50,000 km of access-controlled highways and that, according to Jain, would add more lanes to the road networks as most of these would be 4 to 8 lane networks.

Jian also said, in terms of awarding new road construction projects, he still hoped the figure to touch 10,000 km for FY24, and a pipeline of cleared projects together with DPRs would be worked out over next three months so that project awarding momentum is maintained in FY25.

Up to January, 3,481 km of highways have been awarded, less than half of 8,400 km awarded during the same period of previous year.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Subhash Narayan
Subhash is the infrastructure editor at Mint and tracks the momentous developments taking place in the space that is fast changing the Indian landscape. He feels that reporting has been a passion that provides the necessary adrenaline rush and keeps you going.
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Published: 23 Feb 2024, 05:46 PM IST
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