The Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which was inaugurated by the Akhilesh Yadav government amidst much fanfare, is still not ready for use by commuters. According to an India Today report, multiple stretches on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway are yet to be completed, before it can be opened for all. UP government is hoping to throw open the expressway, which is said to be the longest in India, by December. The report said that the interchange that links the Yamuna Expressway to Agra-Lucknow expressway has been completed only on one side. The side that allows the commuter to return from Lucknow is still under construction. For the road that connects Agra and Firozabad, the roadsides are yet to be paved, the report added.
However, all that does not take away the fact that the Agra-Lucknow Expressway has been built in a record time of 23 months by the UP government. The expressway is UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s pitch that his government is development oriented. According to the UP government the expressway will help cut down the time between Agra and Lucknow to just 3.5 hours, from the current 7 hours. Moreover, the expressway is expected the reduce the road travel time between Delhi and Lucknow to anywhere between 5 to 6 hours! The Agra-Lucknow Expressway has a design speed of up to 120 kms per hour and will have automatic traffic management systems aimed at reducing road accidents and helping even at the time of fog.
The six-lane expressway is expandable to 8-lanes. Reports suggest that the bridges and underpasses have been made 8-lane to avoid traffic congestion and bottlenecks once the expressway is expanded to 8-lane. The expressway has an 8-lane bridge across the river Ganga. This will connect Kanpur and Unnao. The expressway includes 4 rail over bridges, 13 major bridges, 57 minor bridges, 74 vehicular underpasses, 148 pedestrian underpasses and 9 flyovers. The expressway spans 10 districts, 236 villages and 3500 hectares of land. It connects Agra and Lucknow via Shikohabad, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya, Kannauj, Kanpur Nagar, Unnao and Hardoi. The expressway passes through 4 National Highways, 2 state highways, and 5 rivers (Ganga, Yamuna, Isan, Sai and Kalyani).
For the inauguration, six fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) touched down on a stretch of the expressway earlier way. Three Mirage 2000s and three Sukhois skimmed the highway in simulated landings. This is the first time that IAF jets took part in the inauguration of an expressway, but the move makes sense because of the central government’s plan to increasingly use highways as landing and take-off strips.