The ambitious 165-km long, six-lane, access-controlled, Yamuna Expressway, which will take commuters from Noida to Agra in just about 100 minutes, will be ready in 15 days.
The developer Jaypee Infratech Ltd has communicated this to the Uttar Pradesh government and are awaiting a safety inspection by government officials before it is declared open to public. The project has been built on a Public-Private Partnership model at a cost of about Rs 11,000 crore.
Sources said that in order to speed up the process of completion of the much-awaited expressway, Jaypee Group would open it with just three toll plazas — at Jewar, Mathura and Agra — though they have the right to collect toll at five places. The decision was taken as construction of the remaining two plazas would have consumed more time.
As per the concession agreement with the developer, government had given permission to Jaypee Group to construct five toll plazas. These plazas were to be developed near Greater Noida-Noida Expressway, at the proposed International Airport near Jewar, another one after Jewar, one each at Mathura and Agra.
“It has been decided to open the expressway with just three toll plazas. The construction of the remaining two has been postponed for the time being as the future of Jewar International Airport is uncertain at present. Certain land issues have to be settled for the toll plaza near NOIDA-Greater NOIDA expressway,” said a senior official of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority.
Though the expressway with three toll plazas would be ready within 15 days, there are certain issues, which are yet to be settled between the developer and the UP government.
Top on the list is a decision on the “permissible speed” on the expressway. There is a proposal to allow vehicle speed of up to 110-120 kmph on the expressway but a final decision is yet to be made. Other things that need to be finalised include providing medical facility on the expressway and opening of food joints along the stretch before it is opened to public.
The 165-km long expressway will connect four districts of UP including Gautam Bhudh Nagar, Mathura, Aligarh and Agra and also five proposed residential townships of JP Group in Gautam Budh Nagar, Aligarh and Agra.
Planned during the regime of Mayawati government in 2003, the project earlier called Taj Expressway was taken up again during her last tenure as CM. The deadline for the project was 2013 but the erstwhile Mayawati government had been trying to get the project completed before then. However, despite the best of efforts, the project could not be completed before the 2012 Assembly election.
The expressway is expected to reduce the time travel from Noida to Agra by just half and is also expected boost the economy of the entire region— the tourism and leather industry in Agra, Brassware industry in Aligarh and milk production in Mathura. At present, it takes three to four hours to reach Agra from Noida. Once the expressway is opened, the travel time would be less than two hours .