Chouhan On Expressway-Building Spree — Will The Network Catapult MP To The Next Stage Of Growth?


In January, reports indicated a substantial investment of Rs 40,000 crore in road construction in Madhya Pradesh, with projects worth Rs 25,000 crore nearing completion.

The objective is to bridge regional disparities by connecting the eastern and western regions of the state and extend further.

Over the last few years, the state government’s concerted efforts in advancing infrastructure are evident not only in the district-level progress of Madhya Pradesh, but also in the ambitious expressway network being developed within the state.

In alignment with the broader trend of expansive expressway projects underway across India, the state has been making rapid progress in its road infrastructure development over the years.

The leadership of Madhya Pradesh recognises the need for faster economic development in the state. To achieve this, efforts have been directed towards an advanced road network, extending into uncharted areas, and improving connectivity to regions with potential for industrial growth, tourism, tribal development, and overall economic diversification.

The objective is to bridge regional disparities by connecting the eastern and western regions of the state and extend further to financial and commercial centres nationwide.

In January, reports indicated a substantial investment of Rs 40,000 crore in road construction in Madhya Pradesh, with projects worth Rs 25,000 crore nearing completion.

This year alone, road projects valued at Rs 6,800 crore have been inaugurated, while several big-ticket projects are in the pipeline.

The state plans to establish close to 2,000 km of expressway road network proposed, as per Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, with the ambition to create an expansive network focusing on both regional connectivity and also links with surrounding states and regions.

In line with this, Madhya Pradesh has also been a key region for the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, with a significant portion the route passing through its western regions.

This section is close to completion and is expected to become operational in the near future.

Madhya Pradesh Section of Country’s Longest Expressway

Nearly 244 km of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway will pass through the state of Madhya Pradesh, covering several districts in the western region of the state.

This road connectivity for the state, will open a direct conduit to New Delhi, the national capital and, Mumbai, the financial capital of the nation. Moreover, it aims to establish vital connectivity and unlock economic prospects for regions in Madhya Pradesh with Vadodara, Surat in Gujarat, as well as with significant regions in Rajasthan.

The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway — proposed to be India’s longest expressway — on completion will span 1,386 km. The 246-km Delhi-Dausa-Lalsot became the first section of the expressway to be opened to public on 12 February 2023.

The expressway stretch in Madhya Pradesh, which is now completed, backed by the effective efforts of the state government and central authorities in matters of land acquisition, project implementation, and coordination — is on track to be the next operational segment, opening up a new era of connectivity in the region.

Snapshots of the completed MP stretch of the Delhi Mumbai Expressway. (Source: RSLive) Snapshots of the completed MP stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. (Source: RSLive)

Examining the route, the eight-lane stretch within the state starts from Neemthur village at the Rajasthan border and ends at Timarwani village, serving as the gateway to Gujarat.

The road corridor passes through three districts of the state — spanning 50 kilometres in Jhabua, 91 kilometres in Ratlam, and 102 kilometres in Mandsaur.

Along its path, the expressway establishes vital connections to major cities in the state, including Garoth, Jaora, Ratlam, and Thandla.

Snapshots of the completed MP stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. (Source: RSLive) One of the massive intersections on the MP stretch. (Source: RSLive)

Eight intersections are being built along the expressway, linking it with state roads and providing access to cities like Ujjain, Dewas, and Indore. A 130-kilometre spur will connect Garoth and Ujjain.

Of the regions in Madhya Pradesh, Ratlam, a crucial gateway to the Mewar region, will be a central point of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, housing industries, commercial activities, and rail connectivity.

Further, the Ratlam interchange will connect to significant regions of Madhya Pradesh, including Ujjain, Indore, and Bhopal, benefiting around 87 villages in Ratlam district.

Snapshot of the Ratlam Interchange. (Source: RSLive)Snapshot of the Ratlam Interchange. (Source: RSLive)

In Mandsaur district, an entry point will be established at Sitamau, with logistics hubs planned for Garoth and Javra.

Within the state, the new expressway will stimulate development in the Malwa-Nimar region by connecting investment areas like Pithampur, Dhar, Mhow, Ratlam, and Nagda.

Additionally, it will enhance access to industrial areas in Shajapur-Dewas and Neemach-Nayagaon, facilitating smoother transportation of goods and creating new investment opportunities for industries.

While this impressive project of road infrastructure intends to usher in expanded connectivity, industrial progress, and economic opportunities, the network also winds through some of the picturesque landscapes of the state.

It allows users to embrace the stunning views and embark on explorations of the region’s rich landscape and captivating terrain.

Views of the surrounding landscape while travelling on the expressway in Madhya Pradesh. (Source: RSLive)

A Series Of Expressways In Pipeline

The Delhi-Mumbai expressway, however, will not be the only expressway project in the state.

The map below provides an overview of the expressway network currently under construction and those in proposal, designed to connect all regions of MP.

Network of Expressways underway in Madhya Pradesh to advance state’s connectivity (Source: Swarajya)

Chambal Expressway

Proposed alongside the Chambal River, the 404 km Atal Progressway will pass through the Chambal valley in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Commonly known as the Chambal Expressway, due to its alignment with the landscape, this ambitious project aims to bring about positive transformation in a region historically characterised by rugged terrain, semi-arid landscapes, and a reputation for legendary outlaws, and lawlessness.

The expressway will establish a crucial link between Etawah in Uttar Pradesh and Kota in Rajasthan. It will cover approximately 300 km of its total 404 km length in Madhya Pradesh, with the major stretch passing through the districts of Sheopur, Morena, and Bhind.

It will offer an alternative route from Kanpur to Kota, connecting to the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and significantly benefiting Madhya Pradesh.

The Gwalior-Chambal region, intersected by the Chambal River, has long been overlooked in terms of industrial and agricultural development compared to other areas of the state.

This region, characterised by its unique topography, has suffered from limited growth and a history of notorious outlaws and lawlessness.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had earlier emphasised: “The development of the Chambal region and the welfare of the people is the priority of our government. To ensure Chambal region doesn’t lag in development, Atal Expressway is being constructed from Sheopur, Morena, and Bhind. Approximately, Rs 8,000 crore will be spent on this.”

The Chambal expressway is expected to provide a boost to tourism and job creation in the northern areas of Madhy Pradesh, like Sheopur, Morena, and Bhind.

Vindhya Expressway

In February this year, state’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also announced the construction of Vindhya Expressway to connect the capital city, Bhopal with Singrauli.

This extensive 660 km expressway project will traverse six districts within the state — including Bhopal, Damoh, Katni, Rewa, Sidhi, and Singrauli.

The Vindhya region, traditionally defined as the plateau around the Vindhyachal ranges in central India, is set to benefit significantly from this much-needed development.

It will substantially enhance connectivity across numerous districts within the Vindhya region, including Sidhi, Satna, Shadole, Umaria, Singrauli, Anupur, and others.

The development has also initiated the establishment of industrial clusters along its proposed alignment, with the aim of generating employment opportunities for the region’s youth.

During the recent Global Investors Summit held in Indore, the government received investment proposals totalling Rs 2.88 lakh crore for the Vindhya region.

Furthermore, regions like Rewa and Sidhi, have witnessed projects like the largest solar power project, the construction of an airport to improve connectivity with surrounding areas and other states, and efforts to engage with various tribal population groups.

Narmada Expressway

In the network of expressways for the state, the Narmada Expressway, spanning 900 km, is set to be developed by National Highways Authority of India.

This proposed six-lane access-controlled highway will follow a route within Madhya Pradesh, connecting Alirajpur, located on the Gujarat border, to Amarkantak, situated on the Chhattisgarh border.

As part of the Bharatmala Pariyojna, this greenfield expressway will run alongside the Narmada River, and later on extended to either Bharuch or Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

The route will also open up connectivity to Narmada regions’s tourist attractions and holy sites, as per statements form concerned authorities.

Overall, the network will open up direct accessibility to 11 districts — namely Anupur, Dindori, Mandla, Jabalpur, Narsinghpur, Hoshangabad, Harda, Khandwa, Khargone, Barwani, and Alirajpur — extending from the western end of Madhya Pradesh to link with historic towns in the eastern part of the state.