"Beauty is and always will be blue skies and open highway." - Dave Hickey, The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty.
Some of the best memories of a travel outing are made on road trips. Riding or driving on the effortlessly smooth tracks, halting at those little roadside eating shacks under the open blue sky with the wind in your hair and liberation lulling your senses, is all what a road trip on our Indian Highways means. But how much are we really aware of these majestic tracks? Highways somehow form a very important segment of our journeys and here's a little know-how on our Indian National Highways.
The lofty highways are constructed by the National Highways Authority of India. The authority also finances the maintenance of the highways. Started off by the former honourable Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayi, the Indian National Highways fall under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Launched under the predominance of Atal Bihari Bajpayi, the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), being the largest highway project of India, aims at the proper maintenance and upgradation of the highways.
Did you know that these lordly highways only consume 1.8% of all the Indian roads, but with a statistic of consuming 40% of road traffic in the entire country? Read on to catch on more such interesting facts about the roads taken and ought to be taken.
1. The Total Length
At present, the total length of the Indian highways tied with expressways, rural and district roads, measures up to a sum total of near about 33 lakh km!
2. The Longest Highway
The National Highways Network of India is an intricate web of majestic wide highways connecting the several cities, towns, districts and even villages dotting the country. The NH 44, running from Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir to the far south Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, is the longest national highway in India with a total distance of 3,745 km. Traverse through the diverse landscapes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari by taking the ultimate road trip on this highway.
3. The Shortest Highway
The shortest National Highways of the country are the NH 118 and the NH 548. The former connects the towns Asanbani and Jamshedpur in the state of Jharkhand, running for a distance of only about 5 km. The NH 548 traverses the state of Maharashtra for about 5 km of length. It is actually a spur road of the NH 48.
4. Total Number Of Highways
Known as the second largest road network of the world, there are over 200 National Highways in the country. With a cumulative length of about 101,011km, the Indian Road Network, has a total length of 1,31,899 km, when considered with the state highways.
5. Longest Cloverleaf Interchange
The amazing Indian road network also consists of a cloverleaf interchange. The longest among all the cloverleaf interchanges is the one in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The Kathipara Junction or the Kathipara's Cloverleaf is not just the country's longest cloverleaf interchange but it has been duly recorded as the largest cloverleaf flyover in Asia as well.
6. Highest Altitude Highway
The serpentine tracks of the Indian road network, on the rugged Himalayan slants help us to remain connected with the mountainous towns and cities. The Leh-Manali Highway is the highest altitude motor highway that connects the town of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Jammu & Kashmir. This motorable highway is also the world's second highest altitude motor highway.
P.C: Matt Batchelor
While on the road, ever observed the different colours on the milestones dotting the highways? Well, the Indian Highways are flanked by three differently coloured milestones. The colour codes are yellow and white for the National Highways, green and white for the State Highways and lastly, black and white for the city highways. Apart from indicating the number of miles you need to traverse to reach your destination these cute little milestones also help you distinguish a national highway from a city highway or a state highway based on such colour-coded specifications.
8. Numbering Of Highways
P.C: Jason Blackeye
The primary highways of the Indian Highway road network are all numbered in two- digits. The highways that run from the direction north to south are all even numbered digits and the ones that run from east to west are oddly-numbered. Also, the highways possessing a three- digit number are all branches, connecting to the primary two-digit numbered highway.