From the ancient civilization of Mohenjodaro that baffled anthropologists for its “ahead-of-it’s-time” design, to the modern post-independence infrastructural marvels like the Worli Sea Link, the Chenab Bridge, etc India has always been on the forefront when it comes to showing its prowess in infrastructural development. 

Although 2020 didn’t see a lot of new infrastructure projects announced or the inauguration of such infrastructural beauties due to the pandemic, 2021 promises a lot by having several project’s completion dates under its tow. 

Here are some of the biggest, most expensive, and most awe-inspiring infrastructural projects that will see their completion in 2021:

Chenab Bridge

A true infrastructural marvel in all sense of the word, Chenab bridge is going to be the first post-independence train link that will connect Jammu to Kashmir.

What makes this bridge truly magnificent infrastructural feet is the fact that it will be the highest bridge in the history of the world once its completion. 

The bridge has a central span of 467 meters and is built at a height of 359 meters from its bed level. To give you a context, the height of Delhi’s monumental icon Qutub Minar is merely 72 meters, in fact, Paris’s very own infrastructural beauty Eiffel Tower that stands tall at 324 meter doesn’t come close to Chenab Bridge’s height.

The project is conceptualized with the aim of strengthening the socio-economic infrastructure of Jammu and Kashmir and giving the state a balanced regional development. With a massive scale on all proportions, the Chenab Bridge project touches every structure and provides for investments across for its infrastructure.

Let’s talk a little bit more about this infrastructural feat. For the construction of this bridge, around 24,000+ thousand tonnes of still will be made use of. As Jammu-Kashmir still remains a terrorism-prone, the Indian Railways have been working with the Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) to make sure that the bridge can withstand any and all minor or major attacks and blast. This has increased the budget of the bridge to up to Rs. 12,000 crore as it is built with 63mm-thick blast-proof steel.

Furthermore, for the safety of passengers and trains, Indian Railways will also be setting up an online monitoring and warning system on the Chenab bridge. 

Dedicated Freight Corridor

The Indian rail network is the third largest rail network in the world that spans a whopping 66,030 route km. On this railway network over 12,000 passenger trains carry around 23 million passengers every day. Additionally, 7,000 freight trains carry 3 million tonnes of freight on these rail networks. But to understand how big a role the freight sector plays, let’s take a small example. Today, almost 90% of the coal that is being utilized in India is transported by freight trains.

To streamline the freight rail network, the Indian railways have been working on a Dedicated Freight Corridor that is planned to be a ‘freight-only’ railway network that will make the move of goods between the industrial headlands in the North and ports on both the Eastern and Western coasts faster, cheaper and more efficient. 

A project that encompasses an entire nation’s railway line, it’s budget is also as massive. The Dedicated Freight Corridor’s budget has been estimated at USD 12 billion (or over Rs. 82,000 crores). The Dedicated Freight Corridor is the Indian Railways’ single-largest infrastructural development project currently. 

The freight corridor will have routs that will span over 3,360km(1839 km for the Eastern DFC from Ludhiana to Dakuni and 1483-km for the Western DFC connecting Delhi to Mumbai) and will bring a tectonic shift in the Indian Railways’ freight operations by providing significant relief in the heavy congestion of the freight networks. 

As per the reports, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project is scheduled for completion by December 2021. The current data says that 56% of the contractual work has already been completed on the Western DFC and around 60% for the Eastern DFC. DFCCIL(Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India) has stated that 99% of the required land has also been acquired so far. 

Char Dham Highway

Executed by the Himalayan State Government, the Char Dham Highway is a two-lane expressway project that is proposed to widen the single-lane roads into double lane ones up to 10 meters. 

The Char Dham Highway’s main purpose is to enhance the accessibility for pilgrims who are going to be making the pilgrimage of the Char Dhams that are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedar Nath, and Badri Nath. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of this project on 27 December 2016. A massive undertaking, the Char Dham Highway Project includes multiple smaller projects such as the construction of 15 flyovers, over a hundred small bridges, 12 bypass roads, and 3596 culverts. As one would expect from a project of such scale, the Char Dham Highway’s budget is over 11 thousand crore rupees and is 

Char Dham All Weather Road Project is a two-lane expressway project currently being executed in Himalayan state Uttarakhand. The project proposes widening of single-lane roads into double lane by up to 10 meters. The stated aim of the project is to improve the accessibility to Char Dham (shrines) namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedar Nath. The project also proposes the creation of 889 km long national highways to connect the whole of Uttarakhand state. It has been divided into 7 packages comprising of 9 destinations including Tanakpur to Pithoragarh stretch.  

The total cost is ₹11,700 crores. The foundation stone of the project was laid by PM Narendra Modi on 27 December 2016. The project includes the construction of two tunnels, 15 big flyovers, 101 small bridges, 3596 culverts, and 12 bypass roads. Additionally, the projects will also have helipads for helicopter emergency response services along its way.

Z-Morh Tunnel

The true success of any infrastructural project isn’t only the beauty it evokes or the massive scale it functions on. It’s also the changes it can bring about the place it is built at. The Z-Morh Tunnel is on its way to being one such pivotal infrastructural project. 

The 6.5KM Z-Morh tunnel is a part of a larger strategic project that aims to ensure year-round connectivity between the valley of Kashmir and Ladakh. The tunnel projects multiple smaller projects that include a 6.5km wide tunnel, two major bridges, a minor bridge and a 6km approach road. All these smaller projects will be making the Z-Morph tunnel a massive infrastructural undertaking that will be worth Rs. 2,379 crore. 

Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg Project

Officially titled the “Hinduridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackrey Maharashtra Samruddhi Highway,” this mega expressway will be connecting 10 districts, 26 tehsils, and over 390 villages. 

The main purpose of this e-way is to reduce the travel duration between Mumbai and Nagpur down to only 8 hours. This infrastructural behemoth is going to cost an upward of Rs. 46,000 crores with the acquisition of over 8,600 hectares of land. 

Also known as the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, the first phase of this infrastructural marvel is expected to be completed and ready to be used by the end of 2021.

The Samruddhi expressway is going to be circumscribed by four lanes on each side. It has a central median of 22.5 meters and a width of 120 meters. According to the reports, the e-way will also have charging amenities for electric vehicles every 40-50 km along the way. Moreover, an Integrated Traffic Management System will be keeping a check on whether vehicles are observing discipline, suffering breakdowns and keeping themselves under the speed limit.

The e-way will consist of 8 tunnels, a bridge over a railway line, an overpass, an underpass to avoid obstruction of wild animals.

Navi Mumbai airport

The Navi Mumbai International project has been in the news since 2010 when it first got its environmental clearance. But due to various financial obstructions and logistical issues, the airport’s construction kept getting delayed.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport has now a new deadline of 2021 for its first phase after CM Thackery instructed the authorities to expedite the construction process.

The airport’s project development budget has been estimated to be somewhere around Rs.100 billion (Rs. 10,000 crores). The primary reason for the airport’s inception was to reduce the increasing congestion at the current Mumbai Airport. In the beginning, the new Navi Mumbai Airport is expected to handle 10 million passengers yearly and once completely operational, it will be handling 60 million passengers annually by the year 2030.

Expected to become the country’s busiest airport, the airport is situated less than 50 km away from the current Mumbai Airport. With the development of this new airport, economic activities around the airport is also going to increase exponentially. Commercial spaces like hotels, offices will usher in more jobs and economic activities. 

Kashi Vishwanath Corridor

The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor is one of Prime Minister’s dream infrastructural projects that aims to not only change the entire appearance of the ancient Varanasi city but will put this religious city at the top of every foreign traveler’s “travel-to” list. 

Inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself on March 8, 2019, it is a complete redevelopment project that will transform the Varanasi city after 200 years of its unchanged glory. Immediately after its inauguration, PM Modi posted a digital animated video of this upcoming project  

The video showed how the entire complex around the Kashi Vishwanath temple will be transformed. From crowded lanes there will be a huge complex that will have all the modern amenities like- a heritage library, offices for temple staff, mandir chowk, and even a performance space.

The entire redevelopment project is expected to cost the Uttar Pradesh State Government a massive sum of Rs. 250 crore with Rs. 298 crores that have already been spent as land acquisition cost.

Rameshwaram Pamban Bridge

An infrastructural marvel, Rameshwaram Pamban Bridge was the first bridge in India that “opened” up for the ferries and ships to pass through. What makes the project all the more awe-inspiring is the fact that it was constructed 100 years ago! 

Also known as an engineering marvel by many, the Rameshwaram Pamban Bridge was known as India’s longest sea bridge, till the Bandra-Worli sea link took its place back in 2009. 

The bridge was commissioned in 1915 when it became the only bridge that connected the island town of Mandapam and the mainland town of Rameswaram.

The unique attribute to this bridge is a span right at the center that can lift up to give way to the ferries and ships that are passing below. Over the course of the century, the bridge too had an interesting life. During the 1964 storm, the bridge suffered some major damage. 

To take a breath of fresh air, the bridge is going through a significant infrastructural redevelopment project with a budget of Rs. 280 crore. The bridge is slated to be fully operational by the end of 2021.