India opens first superhighway

The six-lane freeway runs from Bombay to Pune.


J.A. Getzlaff
May 11, 2000 8:00PM (UTC)

In India, you are about as likely to get into a fender bender with a wandering cow or camel-pulled cart as you are with another motorist. According to the Associated Press, the Bombay Chamber of Commerce has reported that just 2 percent of the nation's highways have four lanes, 34 percent have two lanes and 64 percent have one lane. Of the whole lot, only half are paved.

Motorists share the roads with not only trucks, buses and bicycles, but pedestrians, cows and camels too. And traffic fatalities are consequently high. That's why the government has built the country's first superhighway.

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The six-lane, concrete speedway links Bombay, India's largest city, with the city of Pune. It winds over bridges, along mountain passes and through tunnels, and features more than 20 lanes for carts and about 30 pedestrian underpasses and bridges. Motorists will be able to make the trek from Bombay to Pune in just two hours, compared to the previous four.

In the next 20 years, India plans to build 7,500 more miles of expressway, making its roadways safer, transportation more efficient and India, well, perhaps a little less like India.


J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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