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Building Highways with Greenery around it!

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Last week I had to take my family to Ottawa, ON in Canada. Due to summer peak season, the air travel was bit expensive and therefore decided to go by car. It is about 550 Miles (800 Kms) from Washington DC. It took me about 8 hours of driving time besides the breaks that usually goes with traveling with children making it a 11-12 hours journey.

But I must confess that both ways though I alone drove the car for 10-12 hrs, but didn't felt any tiredness or fatigue. The reason for this pleasant drive was the scenic route that I took and picturesque surroundings of the highways. The entire stretch of Route I-81 is very picturesque and passes through vineyards of Syracuse, New York.

Why I am writing this post? Take a look at these pictures. It is a 2-lane highway with trees on both sides. Unlike here in India, tress found on both sides are planted in dense. This makes the highways pleasant and beautiful to drive. Can we build such highways that are pleasant and beautiful to drive?

Added to that every 50-70 miles there are are 'Rest Areas' maintained by state highway departments. And in addition every exit to towns and hamlets usually has Gas/Food outlets also sports clean and tidy 'Toilets'.

During a conversation on FB with Manivannan after he was transferred to 'Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project', KSHIP, Srinidhi and myself raised a point to plantation of trees on highways developed by KSHIP. But as usual, the official reply from his officers is that trees don't survive and question of taking care after they were planted.

It is true that there is very low rate of survival of saplings planted, inquiry here in US reveals that for every 1 tree they plant 10 tress. For about 1 acre, they roughly plant 1000 saplings to get about 100 trees. The result is seen in above pictures.

If US and Canada can do it, I am sure we in India can also make an attempt to revitalize our green cover. Not long ago our highways too were donned by trees on both sides. Now every tree and bush has been cut and cleaned for firewood and fodder purposes.


kamalakar pandit's picture

yes sayed bhai

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yes its a great pleasure to see the tree around whilst driving .......with the likes of Mr.Mani vannan, its possible that we can expect few state high ways similar to that of in USA. To be honest these days high ways are maintained well...atleast the highways that lead to Bangalore are maintained well...ofcourse green cover is gone....

I always felt, when ever govt. starts the expanding the highways, they should immediatly plant trees on either side of the the time the highways are developed/completed, the green cover will also develop...

Syed sir, if govt. does it, I am sure we can recover the green cover which we lost during the last couple of decades...

we have the right officer now, I sincerely hope Mr.Manivannan will make the difference here.





blrpraj's picture

@syed - not following latest developments?

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You are probably not following developments over the last few years. Your wish has in fact been answered and in 15 years time you will see more such expressways criss crossing India built to international specifications and standards including green cover  -


1) Mumbai - Pune expressway :



2) National Expressway 1 (Ahmedabad to Vadodra) :


3) Bangalore Mysore NICE expressway :


While infrasructure is improving in leaps and bounds; it is a double edged sword because driving on these high speed roads requires a lot of discipline by all road users (pedestrians included). So, hopefully, the indian road users will also improve upto western standards along with the improving infrastructure.

Considering that all this development is happening in India i would say it is nothing short of a jaw dropping miracle since till as recently as the late 90s we could not have hoped for this and had all but given up hope on India.

India is even putting into action a plan for developing a fully integrated National Expressway system much like the US Interstate System or the German Autobahn system. Check out these links :

(please go through each one in the slide show).

- Last but not the least a full project report on the envisioned expressway system for India :


  And again, i am really impressed with the national expressway vision since as recently as the late 90s most of us had given up hope that something even remotely close

to this would have been possible in India.


srinidhi's picture

trees on NH

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TN has done a good job of growing trees on many highways, especially the CBE stretch..its just about replicating that here on the state highways and NH..

Maybe with Mr Manivannan's reach, he can get a study done on what TN is doing that it can be implmented here too..

Btw he has more pressing job of putting up good allweather roads..the recent sullia road cave-in seems dangerous..

kbsyed61's picture

@blrpraj, I am following it!

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I have been following the news on this subject as well as I have traveled on these roads as recent as 2011. Agree with you in next 10-15 years we should see a good culture of greenery donning our highways.

In my last visit in 2011, I have traveled on NH-4 towards Kolar/KGF and NH-7 towards Hyderabad. In both stretches the highway is well laid out with 2/3 lanes, Bypass, Exit/Entry ramps etc. but was sad to notice the absence of trees that used to there. Can understand the construction taking up the space of those old trees. Hope new saplings get planted in their place.

Another disturbing aspect I found on these highways was the 'PED Crossings' provided at different places for people to cross the roads. These crossings are grade level and I would say this is dangerous to both the motorist and the pedestrians. I couldn't grasp the design concept of expecting a motorist with 80 KMPH speed to stop for pedestrians and the animals. I am sure it is nightmare during nights with little visibility. Simple solutions like underpasses at each of these crossings would make things easy and safe for everybody.

Can the schemes like MGNREGA be used for planting and maintenance of greenery around highways? In return, If some innovative way for villagers to get the firewood for themselves and fodder for their animals could incentivise them to take care of the trees and plants.

Anybody with contacts in Agriculture Universities having expertise in social and commercial forestry?

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