World-class highway amenities: The NHAI seeks to bring in international knowledge to develop wayside facilities alongside national highways

World-class highway amenities: The NHAI seeks to bring in international knowledge to develop wayside facilities alongside national highways

World-class highway amenities: The NHAI seeks to bring in international knowledge to develop wayside facilities alongside national highways

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Now, businesses interested in creating wayside amenities on national highways will be asked to submit separate bids to NHAI. The intention behind this choice is to draw in international experience in developing these kinds of facilities.

By Khushi Maheshwari 

“World-class” highway amenities: A new approach is being explored with the goal of bringing international experience to the development of wayside amenities on national highways. The procedure of creating wayside amenities alongside new highways and expressways will be altered, according to a decision made by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Road contractors and concessionaires will no longer be in charge of constructing these amenities.

NHAI will now request independent proposals from businesses looking to build these facilities. The goal of this move, according to an ET article, is to draw in international experience in developing roadside amenities (WSAs) in India. In order to increase return on investment and enhance the experience of highway users, NHAI seeks to promote creative designs and products. Approximately 1,000 WSAs are to be established over the next five years, with a facility located every 50 kilometers along national highways, according to the ministry of road transport and highways.

Of these, eight hundred will be created through public-private partnership, or PPP. For a period of 15 to 30 years, the private player will be in charge of the facility’s development, operation, and maintenance; the NHAI will supply the land, the required permits, and monitoring. Only 198 WSAs have been granted thus far, and 162 are awaiting a bid. According to the government, these WSAs will offer substantial potential to developers, retailers, operators, and investors, with expected returns of between 15 and 30 percent on an average capital investment of Rs 1 to 10 crore.

Fuel stations, EV charging stations, food courts, restaurants, dhabas, convenience stores, first aid or medical rooms (including childcare rooms), areas set aside for showcasing local artisans, drone landing facilities, and even helipads at larger sites are among the amenities that will be developed at each WSA.

WSA development, administration, and upkeep were once the duties of concessionaires or highway contractors in addition to their principal duties of building new roads. On June 11, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHAI) released guidelines that describe the process for removing wayside amenity construction from the purview of road contractors working under different civil work modes, including build-operate-transfer (BOT), hybrid annuity mode (HAM), and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC).

Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, senior director and global head of consulting at Crisil Market Intelligence and Analytics, suggested that segregating the works of road construction and wayside amenities would help in focusing more on the latter. He mentioned that this approach could also result in greater customization and might attract interest from specialized players such as oil marketing companies and hospitality sector players.

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