The 341 km long Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh which connects the state capital Lucknow to the eastern UP via Azamgarh, is facing the beginning troubles as the greenfield expressway is not attracting even half the traffic that was estimated.
The tolling agency, Prakash Asphaltings and Toll Highways (India) Ltd, has quit the contract citing collection of only 45 per cent of the targeted toll.
Between May 1 and 26, the agency collected less than Rs 7.5 crore against the target of Rs 17 crore.
News18 has accessed the minutes of the recent board meeting of UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), which listed three reasons for low toll collection.
Three reasons are the non-completion of the Lucknow Outer Ring Road, the incomplete bridge on Ganga at Buxar Bihar, and the high toll for heavy vehicles. These three reasons are limiting the traffic from using the new expressway.
According to UPEIDA, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has informed that the Lucknow Ring Road and the bridge near Buxar will be ready by December 2022.
Also, UPEIDA is considering reducing the toll price on heavy vehicles as it is almost 20 per cent more than the toll levied by NHAI on National Highways.
In November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Purvanchal Expressway. It starts from village Chaudsarai, district Lucknow located on Lucknow-Sultanpur road (NH-731) and ends at village Hydaria situated on National Highway No. 31, near the UP-Bihar border.
The expressway is six-lane wide and can be expanded to eight-lane in future. Constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 22,500 crore, the Purvanchal Expressway would benefit the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, especially Lucknow, Barabanki, Amethi, Ayodhya, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur districts.