The Fast Lane to Growth
Louis Berger’s work on the Vijayawada-Chilakaluripet Highway resulted in a thoroughfare to meet India’s booming development.
When the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) last widened the VijayawadaChilakaluripet Highway in the early 2000s, the country was at the beginning of its exponential economic growth. Since then, the nation’s GDP has more than tripled. Bolstered by ambitious government initiatives, powerful growth in industrial manufacturing, and a population that comprises 22% of the global workforce, India’s economic development has demanded a frenzy of activities to modernize the country’s infrastructure. Expansion and restoration of the country’s national highway system is chief among these needs.
India’s network of national highways forms the backbone of the country’s transportation infrastructure; while the national highway network comprises less than 2% of the total roadway network in India; it carries roughly 40% of the vehicular traffic. In December 2016, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways announced the Central government’s intention to more than double the length of the nation’s highways from 96,000 to 200,000 kilometers through the NHAI and National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). These efforts will be designed to keep pace with the country’s growing population and exponential economic growth, as the number of vehicles in India has been growing steadily by roughly 10% each year over the last five years. As of June 2017, the rate of construction of new highways in India has been 23 kilometers per day.
However, while the NHAI and NHIDCL are focused on constructing new highways to meet the growing infrastructure demand of the country, they have also recognized the need to expand and modernize existing highways, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh, located on the south-eastern coast of India and home to more than 50 million people. While the eighth largest