We all understand the vastness of this country and that it is actually a huge landmass. This gives rise to the extreme diversity that exists amongst the Indian people. This also poses a uge challenge from the perspective of connecting all parts of the country with each other.
India, with its huge network of roads, national highways, state highways and expressways boasts of the 2nd largest road network in the world, the length of which extends to 4.24 million km's at present.
The main governmental organization responsible for the upkeep, development, construction and enhancement of national highways in India, NHAI was set up by an act of parliament, the NHAI act in 1988. Most of NHAI's work is regulated under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP).
The National Highways Development Project was initiated by the former PM; Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And thus far, it is the largest project initiated ever by the Government of India. To this point, the project has led to the development of over 50,329 km of national highways in India.
At the moment, the total length of National Highways (including expressways) in the country is around 93,051 km. Interestingly, even for their humungous size, the national highways constitute just 1.7 % of the total length of all roads in the country whilst carrying about 40% of the road traffic.
The longest running national highway in India is NH44, formerly known as NH7, with an overall length of 3745 kilometers. Going literally from the North to South of the country, the NH44 runs from Srinagar and ends in Kanyakumari.
The longest highway of India, NH44 passes through as many as 11 states, including Jammu &Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The smallest national highway, in terms of distance and spread, is NH47A. With an overall length of 6 kilometers, NH47A runs from Ernakulam to Kochi Port.
The Golden quadrilateral, along with North- South East-West Corridor and other minor port connectivity projects constitutes the 3 phases of NHDP (National Highway Development Project) in India. And, the Golden Quadrilateral, with a length of 5846 km, connects four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Back in 2010, Government of India decided to streamline the method of naming national highways, with all north-south highways carrying even numbers and east-west highways carrying odd numbers.
All the major highways have a single digit or double digit number such as NH1, NH44 or NH88.
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