Next week, Uttar Pradesh will get its fifth expressway— this one to connect the remote region of Bundelkhand— with its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed on July 12.
This 296-km-long expressway is unique as it has been completed ahead of deadline within 28 months of its inauguration by the PM on February 29, 2020, when a target of 36 months was fixed. However, despite the Covid waves, the project has been completed well ahead of time. The Yogi Adityanath government has also saved Rs 1,132 crore, which is nearly 12.72% of the originally estimated cost, through e-tendering. The four-lane expressway is expandable to six-lane in the future, has 13 interchange points, and will connect seven districts of the state.
The PM will travel to village Katheri in Jalaun district on the expressway to inaugurate it.
Another USP of the new expressway is that it will connect to the operational Agra-Lucknow Expressway near Etawah, and hence provide direct connectivity from Delhi-NCR as well as Lucknow to Bundelkhand. The Yamuna Expressway connects Delhi-NCR to the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
The Bundelkhand Expressway is also crucial to the success of the upcoming defence corridor in the state. Work on an industrial corridor has also begun in the Banda and Jalaun districts. On the other end in Chitrakoot, the expressway will end at the national highway-35, which connects Jhansi with Prayagraj.
“This new expressway will help in the all-round development of the Bundelkhand region, including social and economic development, and increase income in areas of agriculture, tourism, and industry. It will act as an industrial corridor for the region to Delhi-NCR,” Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the CEO of UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority, said.
Two nodes of the upcoming defence corridor will come up near the new expressway in Jhansi and Chitrakoot. On November 19 last year, PM Modi had laid the foundation stone of a Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) unit in Jhansi where an investment of Rs 400 crore in the first phase is proposed.
UP already has four operational expressways: the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, the Yamuna Expressway that connects Greater Noida with Agra, the 302-km-long Agra-Lucknow Expressway, and the 341-km-long Purvanchal Expressway from Lucknow to Ghazipur which was inaugurated by the PM last year. Work has also started on UP’s upcoming longest e-way, the 594-km Ganga Expressway from Meerut to Prayagraj.