IIndia’s Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for 46 National Highway (NH) projects in Karnataka with an investment of ₹19,930 crore, of which ₹3,972 crore will be used to improve interstate road connectivity from Karnataka to Maharashtra and Goa.

“My ministry and my team are working hard, and even during the COVID-19 pandemic, our (highway) construction rate was 38 km per day and my ambition is to increase it to 60 km per day.” Gadkari said the projects would reduce traffic congestion and fuel consumption, make travel faster and improve port connectivity in the region.

Also on the anvil is a controlled access highway to Aurangabad from Pune at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore to cut the journey time over a distance of 225 km from five hours to 1.15 mins at a maximum speed of 140 km. /h. Under the Bharatmala scheme, Gadkari inaugurated ten 292 km national highway projects worth Rs 8,181 crore at Solapur, and two national highway projects worth Rs 1,791.46 crore at Dhule, Maharashtra.

The minister also dedicated 86 km of roads worth Rs 3,216 crore on National Highway 52 which will boost connectivity between Dhule, Aurangabad, Beed, Osmanabad, Solapur.

It has also laid the foundation for sixteen national highway projects worth Rs 2,460 crore in Jalgaon which will boost the economic development of Dhule and Nandurbar districts and provide new job opportunities in the region. As part of improving life in the state, he plans to take further the Buldana model he initiated in 2016-2017, where road infrastructure has improved water availability in areas. remote areas of Solapur and Marathwada districts.

The Buldhana model is a project where National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) contractors are allowed to extract soil and stones by deepening lakes and water bodies without paying any royalty. To date, this unique project has changed lives as 73 villages that were facing water shortage in Solapur district are now in surplus mode.

NHAI recently set a new Guinness World Record by laying 75 km of single-lane asphalt concrete road on NH 53 in 105 hours and 33 minutes between Amravati and Akola. The Guinness World Record for the longest continuously laid asphalt road was for the 25.275 km construction which was carried out in Doha, Qatar in February 2019. The task took 10 days.

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