GATE 2022: Highway Development in India

Highway Development in India


Excavations of Mohenjodaro and Harappa have revealed the existence of roads in India during 23–35 century BC.

Mauryan kings and Gupta rulers also built very good roads.

Mughal period—Roads were built from North–West to the Eastern areas through Gangetic plains, linking coastal and central parts.

British Rule—19th Century

Early British maintained only roads of military and administrative importance.

After that introduction of railways, a number of trunk roads were metaled and bridges were constructed.

Governor General Lord Dalhousie formed the Public Works Department in 1865. Grand Trunk Road was undertaken by this new department.

Development During 20th Century

During I World War increases in number of vehicles demanded better roads. So, lot of development took place.

1927—Jayakar Committee:

This committee formed to examine and submit a report on road development.


Levy tax on petrol and diesel from road users to develop fund called ‘Central Road Fund.’

Road development to be considered as national interest.

Establishing research organization to carry out research and development of roads and semi-official body to be formed to act as an advisory body on various aspects of roads.

1929 (1st March)—Central Road Fund:

Present tax on petrol and diesel is 2/litre.

20% of annual revenue to be retained as Central reserve and grants are to be given by the Central Government for research on road and bridge projects.

80% of annual revenue is distributed to states based on tax collected for petrol for road development.

1934—Indian Roads Congress:

Called as Semi-official Technical Body

It is a branch of Jayakar committee.

Controls specifications, standards and guidelines on materials, design and construction of roads and bridges and publishes journals and research publication on Highway Engineering.

It works with Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

1939—Motor Vehicle Act

It Revised in 1988 and came into force in 1989

If any vehicle has to occupy the road, tax has to be paid and instructions for road users were given.

This act is to regulate the road traffic in the form of traffic laws, ordinances and regulations. The three phases primarily covered are: Control of the driver, Vehicle ownership &Vehicle operation on roads and in traffic stream

1943–63—Nagpur Road Plan: 1st 20-year Road Development Plan

Target—16 km road/100 area of country.

Achieved target 2 years ahead in 1961.

This plan assumed ‘Star and Grid Pattern.

Divided roads into five categories

(a) National Highways (NH)

(b) State Highways (SH)

(c) Major District Roads (MDR)

(d) Other District Roads (ODR)

(e) Village Roads (VR)

Proposed a formula for calculating the road length of different categories of roads, considering geographical, agricultural and population conditions.

1950—Central Road Research Institute (CPRI)

It was started at New Delhi. It is engaged in carrying out applied research in various aspects of highway engineering.

1956—National Highway Act Development and maintenance to be under Central Government.

1988—National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)

It is Revised form of National Highway Act which is started in 1995.

1961–1981—Bombay Road Plan: 2nd road development plan

32 km road /100 sq. km area of country (double of Nagpur plan).

Expressways of 1600 km length.

1973—Highway Research Board (HRB) Coordination and promotion of highway researches.

1981–2001—Lucknow Road Plan: 3rd road development plan

Target 82 km/100 sq. km area and expressways 2000 km.

In 1991, changes were made to include private sector in road development.

Roads are classified into three classes:

2000- National Highway Development Projects (NHDP): It is take by NHAI

Planned road development in different phases to construct roads with uninterrupted flow of traffic.

Phase I—Golden Quadrilateral (5846 km)

Mumbai–Chennai–Kolkata–Delhi (All major metropolitan cities)

Phase II:

North–South corridor (Srinagar to Kanyakumari)

East–West corridor (Silchar to Porbandar) Phase II has total length of 7300 km.

2000—Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)

To provide connectivity to all unconnected habitations with population 500 and above with all-weather roads.

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