Here are some truths…Pratap Padode, President, FIRST Construction Council unravels some disturbing facts…

Recently there was a lot of chest thumping around India having the second longest road network in the world. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha that India had the second largest road network in the world, with about 63.32 lakh km of roads as of March 2019. I dug further and found an update from the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways that India has about 66.71 lakh km of road network, which is the second largest in the world. True. But the categories of roads are not as impressive. We have

National Highways: 1,46,145 km
State Highways: 1,79,535 km
Other Roads: 63,45,403 km
These other roads comprise state roads, city roads and rural roads.

If we provide roads, we are also responsible to see that they do not become the cause of death! In 2023, 168,491 people died in road crashes in India and 443,000 were injured. India accounts for 10 per cent of international car crash deaths despite having just one per cent of the world’s vehicles.

Expressways are the highest class of roads in India. In July 2023, the total length of expressways in India was 5,579 km and 8,366 kms is under construction. But what are Expressways and how are they different from National Highways and Other Roads?

Expressways are controlled-access highways where entrance and exits are controlled by the use of cloverleaf or trumpet or grade separated interchanges that are incorporated into the design of the expressway and designed for maximum speed of 120 km/h, whereas National highways are flyover access or tolled, where entrance and exit is through the side of the flyover, at each intersection of highway with road, flyovers are provided to bypass the city/town/village traffic and these highways are designed for speed of 100 km/h. Expressways follow standards set by Indian Roads Congress and Bureau of Indian Standards.

Mumbai–Pune Expressway is the first 6-lane operational expressway in India started in 2002. Currently, the longest expressway in India is the partially opened Delhi-Mumbai Expressway (Phase-III) at 692 km, which was opened in 2023. The National Highways Development Project by the government of India aims to expand the country's current expressway network and plans to add an additional 18,637 km of greenfield expressways by 2025.

India aims to accelerate the development of its national highways, including high-speed access-controlled routes, to establish a world-class road network by 2037 as part of its goal to transition into a developed nation by 2047. The plan involves expanding the national highways network to over 2,00,000 kms, with a significant increase in access-controlled highways to 50,000 kms from the current 4,000 kms within the next 13 years. Additionally, the government aims to reduce road accidents by 95% over the next 25 years. Minister Nitin Gadkari has stated that the target is to reduce deaths by road accidents by 50% by 2030.

Building roads on the pillars of Safety and Sustainability should be India’s RAHSTA mission. FIRST Construction Council and Construction World magazine are hosting the India RAHSTA (Roads and Highways Sustainable Technologies and Advancements) Conference and RAHSTA Expo will host a two-day conference, expo and awards on the road construction business. All roads will lead to RAHSTA Expo on October 9-10, 2024, at Jio Convention Centre. Visit