New Varanasi-Kolkata Expressway: New Highway To Cut Travel Time

A monumental project, the expressway connects cultural hubs while promising sustainable development and enhanced logistics.

Published On Mar 12, 2024 | Updated On Mar 12, 2024


Embarking on an ambitious stride towards infrastructural excellence, the inauguration of the Varanasi-Kolkata Expressway stands as a testament to modern engineering and strategic planning. This monumental project not only promises to significantly reduce travel time between the culturally rich cities of Varanasi and Kolkata but also aims to foster economic growth and enhance connectivity across the eastern corridor of India.

Spanning approximately 610 kilometres, the expressway weaves through the heartlands of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, offering a seamless travel experience that was once marred by congestion and lengthy durations. By reducing travel time from an arduous 12-14 hours to a mere six or seven hours, the expressway opens new avenues for trade, tourism, and cultural exchange, knitting together the diverse tapestry of India's eastern region.


Constructed under the auspices of the Bharatmala Pariyojana, the Varanasi-Kolkata Expressway is envisaged as a six-lane greenfield expressway, with provisions for expansion to eight lanes to accommodate future traffic growth. The project, estimated to cost INR 35,000 crores, represents a significant investment in the nation's infrastructure, signalling a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for its citizens and bolstering the economy through improved logistics and transportation.

The expressway's strategic importance cannot be overstated. It serves not just as a conduit for efficient transportation but as a catalyst for regional development. The expressway is expected to stimulate economic activity by providing impetus to industries and agriculture, thereby generating employment opportunities and promoting socio-economic upliftment in the adjoining areas.

Environmental considerations have been paramount in the planning and construction of the expressway. The greenfield project incorporates the latest in sustainable design and construction practices, minimising its ecological footprint while ensuring that the natural beauty of the landscape is preserved for future generations.

The 6-lane Varanasi-Kolkata expressway will kick off in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Traversing eastward, it will enter Bihar near Chand, travel through Gaya (including Imamganj), and exit the state after roughly 160 kilometres. To expedite passage, a 5-kilometre tunnel is proposed through the Kaimur Hills. This tunnel will bypass the Sone River, allowing the expressway to seamlessly connect Sasaram, Tilauthi and ultimately Aurangabad via the Grand Trunk Road.

This new expressway aims to bridge the gap between major trade routes, slashing logistical costs and fostering economic exchange. But it's not just about business! The route will connect two vibrant cultural destinations nestled along the holy Ganges River. Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is a renowned centre for art and design, while Kolkata offers a captivating blend of cultures, architectural wonders, and a lively scene of festivals and music.

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