Special Project

Innovation Expressway

December 2019
The recently inaugurated Package-3 of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, built at  Rs.10.57 billion, features several technological innovations.
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated Package-3 of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, built at a civil cost of  Rs.10.57 billion. The project is expected to help decongest the NCR, reduce travel time and heavy traffic jams in this section, and bring a significant reduction in the pollution level owing to lower fuel consumption.

Civil specs
The APCO Chetak Expressway JV executed work on this package. Innovative planning, design and construction methods marked the construction of the viaduct of this project for reducing construction time by the selection of materials, technology and sequence of operations, shares Sanjay Shrivastava, Vice President.

The scope of work included infrastructure development of the expressway, from 00.000 km to 27.500 km including six and eight-laning of NH-24 from 0.000 km to 49.346 km (Hapur Bypass) in Delhi; and six-laning from the existing 27.740 km to existing 49.346 km (Dasna to Hapur) in Uttar Pradesh on hybrid annuity mode (HAM). Package-3 consists of 13 underpasses, one flyover, one Pilkhuwa viaduct (4.680 km), one major bridge, seven minor bridges, and 25 culverts (box type). 

Construction innovation
The construction scheme mainly considered off-site activities as much as possible with assembly in place. “It was decided to construct the girders in a 12,000-sq-m precast casting yard with 12 beds, to cast three girders at a time on one bed,” shares Shrivastava. “The expected production is 108 girders per month with a staking capacity of 220. 
We worked out that in case of reduction of cycle time, girder production could be increased to 180 per month by using early setting admixture or application of steam curing. Accordingly, four boilers (600 kg) were also commissioned for steam or hot water curing. A precast pier cap casting unit was also developed with 25 beds, for a production cycle of 25 per month. A steel cutting bending and binding automatic yard was also conceived.” 
Also, the completion of the pier cap in seven stages of construction work is a new innovation in the field of road construction. The detailed stages are as follows: 

1. (a) Pre-casting left pier cap segment.
     (b) Pre-casting right pier cap segment.
2. Stitching and casting flange porting over pier. 
3. Stitching and casting web portion. 
4. Stressing two cables of the pier cap after completion of casting, thereby removing bottom supports. 
5. Stressing next two cables of the pier cap after erection of seven I-girders. 
6. Stressing the last two cables of the pier cap after completion of deck slab casting.
7. Pre-stressing the pier cap and removal of bottom supports. 

Notably, the 4.68-km, six-lane elevated corridor at Pilkhuwa has been conferred a Gold Medal for Innovation in Construction Technology by the National Highways Awards for Excellence 2018, by MORTH. 

Equipped for execution
  • Latest construction equipment has been used in the execution of the project. This includes:
  • Five gantry cranes; two at the casting yard, one for launching of precast pier caps, two for launching precast pre-tension I-girders.
  • Steel cutting bending and binding automatic yard: 50 m × 18 m, accommodating a shear line, bend line, straightening machine, three automatic stirrup benders and spiral.
  • Transportation trailers with horse for I-girder (30-m long).
  • Boilers for steam curing of I-girder at casting yard.
  • Concrete pump, jacks, pumps, Macalloy bar, trolley-mounted I-girder shutters for fast fixing. 

High-quality materials 
The project has been constructed using high-quality materials that add to the life and quality of the expressway. Polymer has been used in place of conventional Bentonite powder, which saves 20,000 cu m soil from pile foundations. Further, high-grade RCC, M55 grade with micro silica and admixture, to obtain early strength of 45 N per sq mm, within four to five days, required for de-stressing the HT cables, and early de-moulding, is an improvised technique. “Additionally, decking sheets have been used for slab shutters to prevent concrete corrosion and save project execution time,” adds Shrivastava. “Also, the project has made use of steel fibre in casting of crash barrier in place of conventional reinforcement, so that the crash barrier will be easily repairable in future.” 

Safe commuting experience
Safety was a major concern in all the construction activities, especially onsite activities. “Activities such as pier cap erection and girder erection have been safely handled through onsite gantries,” Shrivastava tells us. “No cranes have been used for erection of pier caps or girders, which reduced traffic disruption substantially, because movement of cranes causes traffic disruption for long periods.”
The total length of the corridor is equipped with the latest, world-class equipment such as a vehicle incident management system, advanced traffic management system, emergency call box and PTZ cameras, which help make the journey safe for commuters. 
Innovation, indeed!

Project Details
Total length: 23 km.
Features: Delhi–Meerut Expressway from 0.000 km to 27.500 km including six/eight-laning of NH–24 from 0.000 km to 49.346 km (Hapur Bypass) in Delhi and six-laning from existing 27.740 km to existing 49.346 km (Dasna to Hapur) in Uttar Pradesh.
Completion date: September 2019.
Total cost: Rs10.57 billion.
Design consultant: B&S Engineering Consultants.
Project consultant: LEA Associates South Asia. 
Tel: 011-2697 3950-52. 
Website: www.lasaindia.com
Safety consultant: Almondz Global Infra-Consultant. 
Tel: 011-435 0073. Website:www.almondzglobalinfra.com
Development agency: APCO Chetak Expressway.
Construction contractor: Chetak Enterprises.
Website: www.chetakenterprises.com; 
APCO Infratech.
Website: www.apcoinfra.com
Sub-contractors: Self (departmental and petty labour contractors).
Construction equipment: Company-owned.
Cement used: Shree Cement. Website: www.shreecement.com; UltraTech Cement. Website: 
www.ultratechcement.com
Steel used: Steel Authority of India. Website: www.sail.co.in; Tata Steel. Website: www.tatasteel.com

Key parameters that helped in early project completion
  • Casting of precast pre-tensioned girders – off-site.
  • Fabrication of pile cages – off-site.
  • Casting of single lift piers – in-situ.
  • Casting of precast post-stressed pier caps. 
  • Erection of precast pier cap by gantries.
  • Stitching and casting of pier cap in flange.
  • Stitching and casting of precast pier cap in web.
  • Post stressing of pier caps – in-situ.
  • Erection of girders on pier caps by gantries.
  • Girder stitching with pier cap.
  • Casting of deck slab – in-situ.
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