Four new greenfield expressway to be opened by centre in West Bengal

The central government is getting ready to start construction of four greenfield expressways for Rs 1,000 billion in an effort to relieve congestion in Kolkata, the state capital of West Bengal, and to increase logistical efficiency in the region.

A greenfield project is any project that is being built on a new alignment. These projects typically go through undeveloped areas, where the cost of land acquisition per unit is typically lower because there is less development there.

In West Bengal, four expressways are being considered.

Kharagpur-Burdwan-Moregram Expressway

This 230-km greenfield motorway begins at NH-16 near Kharagpur and ends at Morgram (NH-34 & NH-60 Junction) in West Bengal.

This four-lane expressway is a component of the West Bengali Bharatmala Pariyojana-developed Kharagpur-Siliguri Economic Corridor. The project's tender is most likely to be announced by December 2022 and would be divided into five packages with an estimated price tag of Rs 120 billion.

The traffic that currently comes from Tamil Nadu and Odisha and is headed towards north Bengal must currently pass through Kolkata, which causes severe traffic jams in the city and about a five-hour increase in travel time.

Gorakhpur-Siliguri Expressway

This 519-km greenfield expressway would pass through Bihar on its way from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to Siliguri in West Bengal.

This four-lane motorway would travel 84 km through the Uttar Pradesh districts of Gorakhpur, Deoria, and Kushinagar before entering the state of Monasteries. Before arriving at Siliguri, it will travel through the towns of West Champaran, East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, and Kishanganj.

The expressway's alignment has been decided upon by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and the project's work tender will be given in the following year.

The expressway will serve as a direct link for traffic leaving the Northeast area of India for northern India, including the nation's capital and the states of Punjab and Haryana.

Varanasi-Kolkata Expressway

The 610-km long greenfield highway, which is part of the Bharatmala Pariyojna (BMP) Phase-2 plan, will connect the country's northern and eastern areas at high speed.

The access-controlled motorway starts at the intersection of NH-19 and Varanasi Ring Road and travels through Bihar and Jharkhand before coming to an end at NH-16 close to Uluberia in the Howrah district of West Bengal.

In Uttar Pradesh, the highway travels 22 km; in Bihar, 159-km; in Jharkhand, 187-km; and in West Bengal, 242-km.

Currently, it takes at least 12 to 13 hours to travel the 644-km between Varanasi and Kolkata via NH-2 (Golden Quadrilateral Road). Once operational, the parallel Varanasi-Kolkata motorway will cut down on travel time by 7-8 hours.

Raxaul-Haldia Expressway

The Indo-Nepal border town of Raxaul serves as the beginning point of the 700-km-long greenfield highway, which ends close to Haldia port in West Bengal.

The highway will span Jharkhand before continuing via West Bengal's Asansol, Durgapur, and West Midnapore districts and connecting to Kolkata.

Near Ramjivanpur village in West Midnapore district, the Rs 350 billion project will cross the Kharagpur-Burdwan-Moregram and Varanasi-Kolkata motorways, enabling seamless interchange between the three motorways.

Once completed, the four greenfield motorways would change West Bengal's physical appearance and provide thousands of people with direct and indirect economic opportunities.

These expressways will help the state realise its full potential and propel its industrial growth.

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