We at Construction Times is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the magazine. As part of the celebration, we are delighted to present to you the major infrastructure projects which are underway, that will redefine the landscape of the country’s mobility.
As a progressing country, India requires infrastructure that supports growth in terms enabling after movements. A road network that has inroads to most part of the state. This ensures a smooth movement of goods from one end to another. It is also imperative that the country should have a well-integrated grid of roads, ports and airports. A balanced network of road, rail, ports and airports fuel the growth of the economy.
Though modern human beings have moved away from inland waterways, there is a renewed interest in optimising the inland waterways of the country. The big-ticket infrastructure projects, dedicated freight corridor, new airports, ports and connecting inland waterways would help the country achieve the US 5 trillion economy mark by 2025.
Chenab River Railway Bridge
Indian Railways, the national transporter is building the world’s highest bridge over the Chenab River. This arch bridge in Jammu and Kashmir is made at a height of 359 metres above the Chenab river. The bridge which started its construction in 2004 is expected to be completed by December 2019. An engineering marvel, this arch bridge is 35 meters taller than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. The1.3 km long Chenab Railway bridge is a key link in the 111 km long Katra and Banihal railway line which is part of Kashmir Railway project’s Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section. The cost of the bridge is estimated to be Rs 12,000 crore.
Kashmir area is considered a terrorism-prone region, which makes it challenging for the authorities. Designed by consultants from Finland and Germany, the bridge is ‘blast-proof’. The concrete pillars of the bridge have been designed to withstand explosions. For this, the bridge includes a 14 metre-wide dual carriageway and a 1.2 metre-wide central verge. The bridge is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working with Railways to make sure that the bridge can withstand any major blast. The high-velocity wind is another issue in the region. The Indian Railways plans to install sensors on the bridge to check the wind velocity. Whenever the wind speed exceeds 90 kmph, the signal on the railway track will turn red to stop the train movement. The arch bridge has been designed in such a way that it can bear earthquake forces of zone V, even though the site falls under zone IV. Zone V is the highest intensity zone in the country.
24,000-plus tonnes of steel being used for the construction of the bridge. Steel is more economical and can take temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Iron can also resist speeds of above 250 kmph as well.
Urban mobility- Hyperloop
Hyperloop is looked upon as one of the innovative solutions to the mobility issues of the urban world. India also has announced the setting up of Hyperloop to connect Mumbai and Pune in the shortest time possible. The hyperloop that would be set up in India is probably the most dynamic one in the world.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and the co-founder of Tesla Inc, which specialises in alternate mobility is behind this revolutionary idea for the transportation industry. Hyperloop is the fastest, emission less and most economical way of travelling. Unlike the current mode of transport which uses an engine and fuel for travel, the hyperloop would use a vacuum for moving.
Hyperloop now has several players involved, all for the same motive, to create an emission-free, extremely efficient mode of travel in countries worldwide. In India, Maharashtra state has given the nod for the first hyperloop in the country connecting Mumbai and Pune. Virgin Hyperloop One has bagged the approval will connect central Pune to Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai.
Now an official infrastructure project, the Mumbai-Pune route is expected to be operational somewhere in the mid-2020s, i.e. 2024/25. The distance would be covered in 25 min flat. Virgin Hyperloop One mentions that the top speed possible for its passenger vehicle or light cargo will be 670 miles per hour or 1080 kilometres per hour. That is more than twice the speed of the fastest trains known to mankind. The Mumbai-Pune line, however, will initially run at a top speed of around 500 kmph.
Navi Mumbai International Airport
Navi Mumbai International Airport, the most talked-about airport in the country, is expected to be ready by mid-2020. Spread across an area of 1,160 hectares estimated cost of the airport is US $2.4 billion. A PPP model greenfield airport for which the construction commenced in 2016. It was plagued by delays in land acquisition, environmental issues and cost escalation.
Initially, the Navi Mumbai airport was planned to handle 10 million which is now revised to 20 million passengers per annum in the first phase. The airport, once fully operational, will have the capacity to handle 90 million passengers per annum.
Texas-based Jacobs Engineering Group will chart the final masterplan for the airport, while London-based Zaha Hadid Architects will design the airport passenger terminal and Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower. The airport development is undertaken by Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL), a Special Purpose Entity formed by the GVK group and City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The former holds 74 per cent while the latter will have 26 per cent holding in NMIAL.
Pre-development work for the airport had begun in 2017. This included flattening a hillock, reclaiming marshland and diverting a river. CIDCO, which has been carrying out this work, has increased the land level to 5.5 metres. The Ulwe river has been diverted outside the airport boundary, and the channel widened to 60 metres. Raising the ground level to 8.5 metres and laying utilities is underway. These would need to be carried out before the construction of the runway and other infrastructure. Laying underground power cables is expected to be completed by December-end.
Connecting the National Capital and the Financial Capital of India, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is one of the world’s most significant infrastructure projects. It is estimated that the project which will pass through six states and Delhi. DMIC includes 24 industrial regions, eight smart cities, two international airports, five power projects, two mass rapid transit systems, and two logistical hubs.
The eight investment regions proposed to be developed in Phase I of DMIC are Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad (in UP), Manesar-Bawal (in Haryana), Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana and Jodhpur-Pali-Marwar (in Rajasthan), Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow (in MP), Ahmedabad-Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) in Gujarat, the Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park, and Dighi Port Industrial Area in Maharashtra.
The projects estimated cost is US $100 billion. The Indian government and the Japanese Government have equally contributed to this project. The dedicate corridor which took off in 2006 is expected to be completed by December 2019.
The government creates a total of 24 special investment nodes, that would support manufacturing, for any type of industry, that would enable the Make in India, Startup India and Standup India initiatives. These hubs will facilitate to set up factories quickly without any hiccups in land acquisition and resources. The corridor which is 1500 km long would provide cheap, fast, and efficient transportation to ports and the rest of the nation. DMIC is expected to generate three million job opportunities manufacturing/processing sectors
Mumbai Trans Harbour Link
The 21.8 km long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), commonly referred as the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans Harbour Link will connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai.
The under-construction freeway grade road bridge when completed, would be the longest sea bridge in the country. The sea link will contain a 6 lane highway, which will be 27 meters in width, in addition to two emergency exit lanes, edge strip and crash barrier.
The estimated cost of the project is US $2.1 billion is expected to complete in the next three years. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had awarded contracts in 2017 and construction began in 2018. Estimates show that this link would see 70,000 vehicles daily once it opens. Though this project was under consideration from 2004, it took a decade and more to come to the implementation stage.
In November 2017, finally, the MMRDA awarded contracts to a consortium of Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Japan’s IHI Corporation, a consortium of Daewoo and Tata Projects Limited (TPL), and L&T to construct the Sewri side of sea bridge, the Navi Mumbai side of sea bridge, and the bridge portion on land towards Chirle respectively. The contracts between the MMRDA and the L&T-IHI Corporation consortium were officially signed on 27 December 2017. L&T was awarded US $1.1 billion for the 10.38 km package 1 and US $150 million for the 3.61 km package 3. The contract for the 7.807 km package 2 was signed with Daewoo and Tata Projects at cost of US $810 million.