Straight to the Taj

September 7, 2015


India’s second expressway is being laid to connect the capital, New Delhi, with the Taj Mahal. The new road will speed up tourism and bolster the country’s surging development.

Taj Mahal

As India’s economy develops quickly, the country’s infrastructure must develop and grow to keep up. The road and railway network is in need of capacity and quality enhancements; a population of 1.2 billion shares only 600 kilometers of expressways. But change is happening. Jaiprakash Associates, a subsidiary of construction conglomerate Jaypee, is making the country’s second expressway. Named the Yamuna Expressway, it will connect India’s main tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, with the capital.

Today the existing road between Agra and New Delhi is four lanes wide and services all types of traffic, leading to congestion. The new expressway will be six to eight lanes wide and 45 kilometers shorter, paved with Dynapac machines.

Along the road, five new townships are planned. These will be industrial development areas, where companies will receive tax breaks for setting up manufacturing plants, sports complexes, residential apartments and other projects.

N.K. Singh at Jaiprakash is responsible for the first third of Yamuna Expressway. He hopes the new road will halve the travel time to two hours. “You can take breakfast in Delhi and lunch in Agra,” he says.

Situated roughly 100 kilometers south of Noida, the scenery for a Yamuna Expressway paving site is beautiful, with soft fields and trees. A couple dozen men work in scorching heat, navigating machines or using a rake to get the final details right. The smell of black, shiny, newly laid asphalt is pervasive.

Three tandem rollers trail a Dynapac paving machine, flattening the top layer. “They increase the density up to 100%,” explains Gurdeep Singh, Key Accounts Manager at Atlas Copco Road Construction Equipment.

The Dynapac paver is used for a width of nine meters, paving two lanes at once. (There is a wider version of the machine as well, which extends 16 meters and can pave four lanes at a time.) Gurdeep Singh says the paver moves at a maximum speed of 3–4 meters per minute. Fed factory-warm asphalt by trucks, the paver distributes the road material in an even layer, guided by a string that stretches between pegs 10 meters apart on the side of the road.

“ The sensor of the paving machine reads the levels,” explains Gurdeep Singh. The technology ensures the evenness and correct thickness of the layer. The last slick layer of asphalt and the bumpy middle layer, dense bitumen macadam (DBM), are both paved with Dynapac’s machines. ”

Construction of the road requires raw material, of course, which has to be processed for each layer to be paved. The road is made up of three paved layers, all of which must maintain a certain temperature when fed through the paver. To limit heat loss during travel to the construction site, the factories producing the road material must be located within a radius of 20–30 kilometers. Along the Yamuna Expressway stretch, four factories had to be built in order to feed the road’s appetite.

“We can make 500 meters of road in a day,” says Vipan Kohli, Head of Mechanical at Oriental Constructors, a company that has paved 55 kilometers of the stretch so far. Kohli has noticed a clear difference between his Dynapac paver and other brands. “This is faster than other machines,” he says.

The engineering company Era owns 135 million US dollars’ worth of machinery that it rents to other subcontractors. Sandeep Chicra, Equipment Head of the company, has noticed an additional difference. “The service is better with Dynapac machines,” he says.

Jaypee Group

Racing to the finish

Written by Hanna Sistek

Vipan Kohli

Pavers Tandem rollers Dynapac India Asia Construction