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Old 17th August 2011, 11:58   #1
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Default Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

I am forced to write this thread since over the past six or seven years I am seeing massive deterioration of the National Highway Network esp. roads under the NHAI. This is both in terms of Road Quality as well ease of driving:

Let me highlight a few points:

1. Roads are closed off for totally local reasons. See the blocking of Delhi-Lucknow Highway (NH24) due to the Kamwarias. Also, parts of NH25 (GQ) in Kanpur were blocked for a day due to some minor festival (Urs or something) for half a day.

2. Quality of Roads is deteriorating. Recently I had occasion to drive of Gwalior and back. Kanpur-Gwalior was on NH2 to Etawah and then NH92 (under NHAI)to Gwalior. Before the GQ's came in this 270km drive used to take me about 5 hours. This time it was almost seven and a half hours. Despite heavy traffic I still managed to reach Etawah (165km) in under three hours. On the next stretch the bit from Bhind to Gwalior took about four hours (72km). Returning I decided to take the NH75 (to Jhansi, part of the NS corridor) and then NH25/NH2 (EW corridor) to Kanpur. As per the NHAI site the former (~100km) is under construction, while the latter is complete. The journey of 325km took me just under seven hours. While the first bit took about 2-3/4 hours the latter took me almost four hours. On a supposedly complete road, the Orai bypass is not complete, and all signposting has been removed. Also, exiting Orai and again exiting Kalpi there are massive potholes which are unattended. I used to do this bit in between 5-1/2 to 5-3/4 hours before the GQ game came in.

Now given the status are the GQ and NHAI now becoming white elephants. I am sure other roads are also in a mess. I have listed NH25, NH92, NH75, and NH24 here. NH25 from Kanpur to Lucknow was the first stage of the GQ taken up and is still work-in-progress. Is a decent road network a right or at the mercy of the babus and powers that be?
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Old 17th August 2011, 18:31   #2
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I am forced to write this thread since over the past six or seven years I am seeing massive deterioration of the National Highway Network esp. roads under the NHAI. This is both in terms of Road Quality as well ease of driving.
Recently I had occasion to drive of Gwalior and back. Before the GQ's came in this 270km drive used to take me about 5 hours. This time it was almost seven and a half hours. Returning I decided to take the NH75 (to Jhansi, part of the NS corridor) and then NH25/NH2 (EW corridor) to Kanpur. The journey of 325km took me just under seven hours.
Dear Sir,
I think this deterioration of the highways is not limited to the state of UP/MP only. Before the monsoon started this year, I had the opportunity to drive to Sikkim. I distinctly remember that earlier I have traveled between Calcutta and Siliguri (slightly over 600 KM, via NH 34) in less than 12 hours. But this time I needed 15 hours, primarily due to heavier traffic and worse roads. Driving was so tiresome for me that on the return journey I decided to take the longer Moregram-Panagarh Road (NH 60), hoping for a better road surface. I soon discovered that the potholes on that road were so big that they almost resemble lunar craters. In fact, the potholes were so large that they did not come to you as a surprise and you could discover them almost a KM in advance. But considerably wider road and much lesser traffic helped me to return in 14 hours.
These were the condition of the highways before the rainy season and you may well understand how horrible can the current condition be.
Regards,
Rahul Biswas
Calcutta.
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Old 18th August 2011, 11:10   #3
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

@rahul4640: The MP CM has written to the GoI to take ten major highways out of NHAI and hand them back to the state. The state will fix them at its own cost.

Today, I saw in the papers that the UP Govt is also cursing NHAI about the poor stets of roads which are now under it.
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Old 20th August 2011, 12:04   #4
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

Whenever we make a trip to my hometown we do Nagpur-Jabalpur by road as its much much faster as compared to Train. Ten years back this road used to be in horrible condition and would take close to overnight (6+ hours, and sometimes 7+ hours).

Last December we had to do this again in cold December night (With lots of Fog etc) and we did it in 4-5 hours with good breaks and very reasonable speed (Consistently around 80). So i believe there is light at the end of tunnel. The news about State government maintaining the NH is a good/bad as sometimes they do a very good job and other times its shabby patch work which soon gets neglected for lack of funds (or Corruption)

So yes some of the road conditions have improved but when i did the road trip between Jabalpur to Allahabad it was pathetic last year not sure of its state now. This December we are planning to go around MP and Chattisgarh (CG Roads are much better) if time permits.
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Old 21st August 2011, 16:12   #5
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

The fish rots from the head. When Khanduri was the Minister in Charge, a lot of progress happenned because he was interested in showing results. Now the jokers are interested in making money, so the bureaucrats focus on making money.

For me, the big test for NHAI is NH24. They way it changed in 2001-03 and 2003-2011 is instructive.

And the NH2 / NH92? I recently drove from Gwalior to Delhi overnight. Yes, it actually took me overnight because the Gwalior-Dhaulpur stretch was so pathetic.
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Old 31st October 2011, 09:48   #6
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

I hear that there is some action on the NH92 and there is massive four laning operation on the MP stretch of it. I also hear that October 22 was the deadline.

I have to go to Gwalior towards the end of the month. Since deadlines are for the birds in India - any actual news, or should I plan via Jhansi even though it is 50km more.
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Old 28th January 2012, 12:58   #7
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

Update on Kanpur-Gwalior

We recently had occasion to do both options in a few days interval:

1. Kanpur - Etawah (NH2) - Gwalior (NH92): NH2 is great as usual. Court deadlines not withstanding NH92 is still essentially tractorable. Four laning is on, All culverts require detours through rough territory. As you enter Gwalior you are diverted through the Industrial area.

2. Kanpur - Jhansi (NH2/25) - Gwalior (NH75). Big improvement. I could do the stretch on 325km in six hours. This is EW Corridor + NH Corridor is all GQ. To Jhansi roadworks at Kalpi, detour through Orai and then about 4km around Ait where one side of the highway is non existent.

NH75 is passable with not too much real rough stuff. It was here that I perforated the AC condenser in November.

On NH25 they are lazing on the highway but working with alacrity on the toll plazas (both sides of Orai!). I wish they do the Orai bypass and the Ait bit fast.
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Old 29th January 2012, 08:38   #8
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
Update on Kanpur-Gwalior

We recently had occasion to do both options in a few days interval:

2. Kanpur - Jhansi (NH2/25) - Gwalior (NH75). Big improvement. I could do the stretch on 325km in six hours. This is EW Corridor + NH Corridor is all GQ. To Jhansi roadworks at Kalpi, detour through Orai and then about 4km around Ait where one side of the highway is non existent.
This is the exact same condition I found it on 13th of Feb 2011. Since I was riding all the way from Pune via Mumbai Agra Highway, I was pleasantly surprised by the road conditions from Shivpuri(MP) all the way till Faizabad(UP). It had taken me a total of 8.30 hours to do the 530odd km on my bike which includes a breakfast break(just ahead of Orai) and a coffee+snacks break @Gomtinagar, LKO.

The road in Ait looked as if the top 2/2.5 inches of the completed road have been freshly scraped off using power tools. The surface of the road looked like sharp edged ripples on still water. Does it still look like that now? Only a 2ft wide band of tarmac was in usable condition such that it won't tear off the tires of my bike and I could still maintain a steady 60-70 on the undamaged part of the road.

Frankly speaking, my bike has seen a LOT of bad roads all throughout western/south India but I have never seen another road with such a condition in my life. Riding on it was downright dangerous! But the rest of it minus the detours in Jhansi, Orai and Kanpur(with its legendary traffic sense) were delightful.
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Old 29th January 2012, 12:38   #9
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

It is no coincidence that teh 2 worst-affected states are UP and MP, both non-Cong ruled States, where the State Govts have castigated the NHAI (under control of Congress-run Central Govt) of delaying sanctions and release of funds.

In MP particularly, the contrast is stark - the NH7, NH69 which are trunk highways through the State are in terrible state contrasting that with the superb state of the State highways run by the State Govt directly and exclusively. In fact, we have started advising all to take SHs that run roughly parallel to NH7 to avoid the terrible sections.

WB's NH60 and NH34 are more often in bad shape and I was pleasantly surpised that a couple of years ago the NH34 in particular improved dramatically to deteriorate again this year, now that a new Govt is in power.

In Rajasthan, with the help of IL&FS, the State Govt under the previous non-Cong govt did wonders with such corridors such as the Bhatinda-Kishangarh highway which is now a wonderful tolled road running via Hanumangarh, Sardarshahr.

So the problem is one of politics over road adminsitartion especially in States like MP where the present Govt came to power on slogans like "biji, sadak..."

Mind you, I am not making any political statements, but all I can say is that the grand highway expansion projects initiated by the last non-Cong Govt at the Centre resulted in the masterpieces like the GQ, NS & EW Corridors and also a slew of initiatives to create dual carriageways. This slowed down in between with many road sections completely going into limbo (like in case of NH5 in Orissa) or NH4 (around Davangere), but happily some progress is noted in recent months. However, India has lost considerable time and now the next round of road reforms has begun - 6 laning and such like - which means we motorists are condemned to further suffering for some more time till the construction works are completed.

As sgiitk says, road speeds have actually come down in some sectors due to the increase in road traffic and mess-up in construction/ repairs.
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Old 29th January 2012, 15:02   #10
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

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It is no coincidence that teh 2 worst-affected states are UP and MP, both non-Cong ruled States, where the State Govts have castigated the NHAI (under control of Congress-run Central Govt) of delaying sanctions and release of funds.
Please add to this list the state of Jharkhand. All roads in Jharkhand look like we are in the 17th century. I looked at NH32 which is partly in Jharkhand and most of NH33. They resemble as if there was a concerted bombing campaign conducted by the allied forces. Without being coy about it, I strongly feel that the Congress government has been using NHAI to play politics with states with non-Congress governments. My drive in Jharkhand this weekend has been the worst ever. Compared to that the roads in West Bengal were a real pleasant surprise. Both NH60A and NH32 in West Bengal look and drive great barring one or two rough patches. But as soon as one enters Jharkhand it looks like it is a different India. This when the government that ruled Jharkhand was a Congress government though its another matter that their CM was Madhu Koda who has to his credit the second largest scam in India .

While I dont want to use this forum to diss a particular political party but the non-congress Government at the center prior to the current Congress one took a huge initiative and a did great job with roads and infrastructure regardless of who ruled which state back then. Its really lamentable the current government instead of carrying on the good work just plays politics with NHAI. Its time we citizens woke up and smelt the coffee to understand which political parties put loyalty before its duty to the country.

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 29th January 2012 at 15:05.
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Old 28th October 2012, 09:04   #11
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

Got a report that NH92 is fixed from Etawah to Gwalior still a lot of 2-lane sections. Last 10km into Gwalior is being four laned so should be done in a month or so. MP elections are next year or so!
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:06   #12
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

did Kanpur-Gwalior & back - NH2 & NH92. The former is still Ok. Tolls have increased to Rs.40 (Akbarpur-Sikandra) and Rs.55 (Ajitmal?) one way. They are getting ready with toll booth(s) on the Kanpur-Akbarpur stretch. NH92 is excellent in MP, I a sorry to say UP is lagging. Widening and the rest (about 15km on Etawah-Phooph) are still in the future. On the way out we took two hours for a 10km stretch between Etawah & Bhind (Udi-Phooph specifically) due to culvert construction and a traffic jam due to a track stuck in the mud. Also, 10km approaching Gwalior is being four laned and one side is under construction. They are also putting up a toll booth on NH92.

The road is eminently drivable.
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Old 26th December 2013, 12:04   #13
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Default Re: Deteriorating state of Highways esp. UP/MP

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... did Kanpur-Gwalior & back - NH2 & NH92...
Hi sgiitk. Just got to know of a broken bridge on Bhind-Etawah road. Could not find any related news online. Do you have any info on this?

Also, any suggestions for alternate route for someone going from Lucknow to Gwalior? The last I saw Jhansi-Gwalior, 2 years back, it was really really bad.

Thanks.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 14:36   #14
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Hi sgiitk. Just got to know of a broken bridge on Bhind-Etawah road. Could not find any related news online. Do you have any info on this?

Also, any suggestions for alternate route for someone going from Lucknow to Gwalior? The last I saw Jhansi-Gwalior, 2 years back, it was really really bad.
Sorry, I missed your post. Today the Kanpur - Etawah - Bhind - Gwalior is far superioor. I know of people doing Kanpur - Gwalior in under 5 hours regularly. You go through Etawah, through the Civil Lines area. It is signposted.
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