Highway stretches managed by IRB Infra, L&T top the rankings list

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 01, 2021

33 km a day of highway constructed now; 93 per cent of toll collected through FASTags

The highway stretches managed by IRB Infrastructure (Ahmedabad-Vadodara, Goa-to Kundapur) and Larsen and Toubro (Simga to Sargon) occupy the top ranks in national highways rankings that were released for the first time on Monday.

Rankings are done based on 40 parameters, including time taken at the toll plaza, speed of operations, quality of signages, accidents per km per year, among others.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will make this a bi-annual feature for evaluating roads’ quality, which will also prompt competition among road developers.

“We have done this ranking for the benefit of users. I humbly admit that our highways are not yet perfect. Our aim is to make them perfect. Feel free to point out the difficulties while using highways..and we will work towards improving them...The extent of waiting time at toll plazas and crowd on a National Highway will also help us decide the areas where highways need to be developed,” Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways said in a conference on Monday.

The Minister also launched an online system that will help track the waiting time at various toll plazas. “Almost 80 per cent of toll plazas have zero waiting time,” NHAI Chairman SS Sandhu said.

Describing the audit process, Ajmer Singh, Chief General Manager, NHAI, said the study for this evaluation was done on the various highway stretches under a toll plaza. He added that the rating procedure circulated among different project units of national highways and feedback taken from them before arriving at the final rank. In the first phase, 18,668 km of highway stretches covering 343 toll plazas were rated and ranked. This will slowly be extended to other highways as well.

Road construction

In another move, Gadkari added that 33 km of highways per day have been constructed in the country this financial year so far. “We hope to achieve the target of constructing 40 km of highways a day,” he said.

FASTag usage

Also, almost 93 per cent of toll charges are being collected electronically through FASTags now, reflecting a sharp increase from the 80 per cent levels in the last 15 days.

From February 15/16, NHAI mandated all toll collections electronically through FASTags.

On February 28, almost ₹108 crore was collected as toll charges, up from ₹82 crore on February 15, said Akhilesh Srivastava, CGM, NHAI, during the press meet. This is despite Covid-19 and 68 toll plazas in Punjab and Haryana not collecting tolls.

Gadkari wondered why seven per cent of road users are still off FASTags and prefer to pay toll through cash and penalty of double the toll charges.

Published on March 01, 2021

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