A good road network is a critical infrastructure requirement for rapid growth. It provides connectivity to remote areas; provides accessibility to markets, schools, and hospitals; and opens up backward regions to trade and investment. Roads also play an important role in inter-modal transport development, establishing links with airports, railway stations, and ports.
India has the second largest road network in the world with a total length of 46.90 Lakh kilometres. The road network can be broadly classified into five broad categories viz. Expressway; National Highways (NHs); State Highways (SHs); Other & rural roads. Out of this, only 1 Lakh kms comes under National Highways and 1.60 Lakh kms under state highways. Rest are ‘other’ roads. Thus, only 2% of road length in India is covered under National Highways. Currently, around 1200 kilometres length is covered by express highways, highest category of roads in the Indian road network.
- The Leh-Manali Highway, connecting Shimla to Leh in Ladakh is world’s second highest-altitude motor highway.
- India has two National Expressways viz. National Expressway-1 (NE-1) and National Expressway-2 (NE-2).
- Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway has been designated as National Expressway-1, also known as Mahatma Gandhi Expressway. The The 95 km long express highway connects Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and was constructed under the Golden Quadrilateral Project by NHAI in 2004 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
- The Sonipat (Kundli)-Ghaziabad-Palwal expressway is the National Expressway-2. It is still under development.
- There are 13 state expressways in India including Mumbai-Pune, Ambala-Chandigarh, Delhi-Gurgaon, Delhi-Faridabad, Kundli–Manesar–Palwal, Faridabad-NOIDA-Ghaziabad, Kalyani Expressway, DND Flyway, Bengaluru-Mysore, Chennai HSCTC, Hyderabad Elevated Expressways, Belghoria Expressway and Yamuna Expressway
- From 2011, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had adopted a new systematic numbering of National Highways. This new system will indicate the direction of National Highways whether it is East-West (odd numbers) or North-South (even numbers) and also the geographical region where it is located, increasing from east to west and from north to south. As per this system, all the north-south oriented highway have even numbers increasing from the east to the west and all east-west oriented highways will be odd numbered increasing from the north to the south of the country.
- The single longest national highway is NH 44 which will run from Srinagar to Kanyakumari.
- The shortest Highway is 966B, in Kerala from Kundannur in NH 66 in Eranakulam to Wellington Island(Port). The distance is 5.9 km only.
- National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for management of a network of National Highways in India. It is a statutory authority, established by NHAI act, 1988. It was made autonomous in 1995. It is responsible for the development, maintenance, management and operation of National Highways, totalling over 70,548 km. National Highway Development Project National Highway Development Project (NHDP) is being implemented by NHAI. It involves creation and upgradation of 49,260 kms of roads and highways work and construction in order to boost economic development. The Phase I began in 2000 under the NDA Government and 8,917km National Highway was built during NDA rule. There are total seven phases so far of which Phase-I was completed. Rest of the phases is either in proposed state or incomplete. The current 12th plan focuses on completion of ongoing phases of NHDP and also upgradation to four or more lanes of about 32,750 km.
- Chennai Port Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway will be the longest elevated expressway of the country with a total length of 19 km.
- The Mahatma Gandhi Setu river road bridge over the holy river Ganges in Bihar, connects Patna in the south to Hajipur. It is 5.5 km long, 4 lane roadway with 48 pilers, which makes it one of the longest bridges in the world.
- The Bandra Worli Sea Link of Mumbai is India’s longest Sea Bridge. It connects Bandra with Worli and is the part of proposed Western Freeway. The cable stayed bridge is a new landmark in the city. The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link is an under construction sea bridge in Mumbai and will be the longest sea bridge of India with a total length of 22 km.
- The Kathipara Junction of Chennai is the largest cloverleaf interchanges in India and largest cloverleaf flyover in the whole of Asia. Kathipara cloverleaf grade separator is located at the intersection of Grand Southern Trunk Road,Inner Ring Road, Poonamallee road and Anna Salai.
- The Hebbal Flyover of Bangalore built by Gammon with the total spans length of 5.23 kilometers. The serpentine maze of flyovers connects the Outer Ring Road and Bellary Road, it will receive rapid expansion and growth for smoother traffic flow. Hebbal flyover is one of the Civil Engineering Wonder of India.
- The Chenani Nashri Tunnel or Patnitop Tunnel is a under construction road tunnel at Chenani in Udhampur district of Jammu & Kashmir. Chenani Nashri Tunnel will be the India’s longest road tunnel with total length of 9.2 km long at an average elevation of 1,062 meters ( 3,487 feet).
- The Kanpur Over Bridge is one of the largest over-bridges in the Asia. It is situated in National Highway 2 while entering the Kanpur city from Etawah. Kanpur over bridge is 23 km long and 12 lane over bridge, Another under construction bridge near Kanpur is Jajmau Bypass, will be 3 km long and 8 lane road.
- The Godavari Bridge also known as Kovvur Rajahmundry bridge over river Godavari in Rajahmundry is Asia’s second longest road-cum-rail bridge crossing a water body.The 2.7 kilometres long bridge has two lanes of road and single railway line.
- The 32-lane toll plaza is located at the Delhi-Gurgaon border in the route of Delhi Gurgaon Expressway. The 32 Lane Gurgaon Expressway toll plaza is the India’s largest toll plaza and biggest toll plaza in whole Asia.