Golden Quadrilateral

The Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) is a national highway network connecting most of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India. It forms a quadrilateral connecting the four major metro cities of India, viz., Delhi (north), Kolkata (east), Mumbai (west) and Chennai (south). Other cities connected by this network include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Balasore, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Durgapur, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Surat, Vijayawada, Ajmer, Vizag, Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Allahabad, Agra, Mathura, Dhanbad, Gandhinagar, Udaipur, and Vadodara. The main objective of these super highways is to reduce the distance and time between the four mega cities of India.

Golden Quadrilateral
Highway map of India with the Golden Quadrilateral highlighted in solid blue colour
Route information
Maintained by NHAI
Length5,846 km (3,633 mi)
Length1,453 km (903 mi)
NH 19
Length1,419 km (882 mi)
NH 48
Length1,290 km (800 mi)
NH 48
Length1,684 km (1,046 mi)
NH 16
Highway system
  • Roads in India
Vijayawada–Guntur Expressway section of NH-16
A section of the Golden Quadrilateral highway from Chennai–Mumbai phase
NH46: Bengaluru–Chennai section of India's 4-lane Golden Quadrilateral highway
NH 16 another section of Golden Quadrilateral highway in Visakhapatnam on the Kolkata–Chennai section
Kolkata–Durgapur section of India's GQ highway
NH4: Chennai–Bengaluru section of Tamil Nadu Q highway near Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu

At 5,846 kilometres (3,633 mi), it is the largest highway project in India and the fifth longest in the world.[1] It is the first phase of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), and consists of four- and six-lane express highways, built at a cost of 600 billion (US$8.4 billion).[2] The project was planned in 1999, launched in 2001, and was completed in 2013.[3]

The Golden Quadrilateral project is managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. The vast majority of the system is not access controlled, although safety features such as guardrails, shoulders, and high-visibility signs are in use. The Mumbai–Pune Expressway, the first controlled-access toll road to be built in India, is a part of the GQ Project but not funded by NHAI, and is separate from the old Mumbai–Pune section of National Highway 48 (India). Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) has been one of the major contributors to the infrastructural development activity in the GQ project.

History and costs

The Golden Quadrilateral Project (GQ Project) was intended to establish faster transport networks between major cities and ports, provide smaller towns better access to markets, reduce agricultural spoilage in transport, drive economical growth, and promote truck transport.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone for the project on 6 January 1999.[4] It was planned to be completed by 2006, but there were delays due to land acquisition constraints and disputes with contractors which had to be renegotiated.[5][6]

India's government had initially estimated that the Golden Quadrilateral project would cost 600 billion (US$8.4 billion) at 1999 prices. However, the highway was built under-budget. As of August 2011, the cost incurred by the Indian government was about half of the initial estimate, at 308.58 billion (US$4.3 billion). The eight contracts in progress, as of August 2011, were worth 16.34 billion (US$230 million).[7]

In January 2012, India announced the four-lane GQ highway network as complete.[8][9] In September 2009, it was announced that the existing four-laned highways would be converted into six-lane highways.[10] Sections of NH 2, NH 4, NH 5 and NH 8 were prioritized for widening to six lanes under DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) pattern and more sections would be six-laned in the future. On NH 8 six-lane work was completed from Vadodara to Surat.

1.Delhi–Kolkata1,453 km (903 mi)31 August 2011 Archived 1 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
2.Chennai–Mumbai1,290 km (800 mi)31 August 2011 Archived 4 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
3.Kolkata–Chennai1,684 km (1,046 mi)31 May 2013 Archived 23 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
4.Mumbai–Delhi1,419 km (882 mi)31 August 2011 Archived 28 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
Total5,846 km (3,633 mi)31 May 2013 Archived 29 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine


Only National Highways are used in the Golden Quadrilateral. The four legs use the following National Highways (new numbering system):

  • Delhi – Kolkata: NH 44 from Delhi to Agra & NH 19 from Agra to Kolkata
  • Delhi – Mumbai – Chennai: NH 48
  • Kolkata – Chennai: NH 16

Connected cities

Delhi–Kolkata Kolkata–Chennai Chennai–Mumbai Mumbai–Delhi
  • Chennai
  • Sriperumbudur
  • Kanchipuram
  • Ranipet
  • Vellore
  • Pallikonda
  • Ambur
  • Vaniyambadi
  • Krishnagiri
  • Hosur
  • Bengaluru
  • Tumakuru
  • Sira
  • Chitradurga
  • Davangere
  • Ranebennur
  • Hubballi-Dharwad
  • Belagavi
  • Kolhapur
  • Karad
  • Satara
  • Pune
  • Panvel
  • Mumbai

Length in each state

The completed Golden Quadrilateral passes through 12 states and a union territory:

Corruption allegations

In August 2003, Jharkhand-based project director Satyendra Dubey, in a letter to the prime minister, outlined a list of bad faith (mala fide) actions in a segment of a highway in Bihar. Dubey's claims included that big contractors had inside information from NHAI officials,[13] that the contractors for this stretch were not executing the project themselves (as stipulated in the contract) but had subcontracting the work to small builders who lacked technical expertise,[13] and that no follow-up was performed after awarding advances.[13] Dubey's name was leaked by the prime minister's office to the NHAI,[13] and he was transferred against his wishes to Gaya, Bihar, where he was murdered on 27 November.[13]

The NHAI eventually admitted that Dubey's allegations were substantiated, and implemented "radical reforms" in the selection and contract procedures.[14] After considerable Central Bureau of Investigation scrutiny, Mantu Kumar and three accomplices were arrested and charged with murder. Mantu escaped from court on 19 September 2005,[15] but was recaptured a month later. In 2010, Mantu and two others were convicted of murder and other offenses and sentenced to life in prison.[16]

See also

Similar rail development
  • Future of rail transport in India, rail development
Similar roads development
  • Bharatmala
    • Diamond Quadrilateral, Subsumed in Bharatmala
    • National Highways Development Project, Subsumed in Bharatmala
    • North-South and East-West Corridor, Subsumed in Bharatmala
  • India-China Border Roads, Subsumed in Bharatmala
  • Indian Expressways
  • Setu Bharatam, river road bridge development in India
Similar ports and river transport development
  • Indian Rivers Inter-link
  • List of National Waterways in India
  • Sagar Mala project, national water port development connectivity scheme
Similar air transport development
  • Indian Human Spaceflight Programme
  • UDAN, national airport development connectivity scheme
Highways in India
  • List of National Highways in India by highway number
  • List of National Highways in India
  • Transport in India


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 2013-07-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Road network-Source-The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)
  2. Golden Quadrilateral Highway Network. Road Traffic Technology (2011-06-15). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  3. "Building India's National Pride: The Golden Quadrilateral".
  4. "Golden Quadrilateral still has miles to go". Financial Express.
  5. R. N. Bhaskar. "Crossing the chasm". Forbes India. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009.
  6. "Contractors take the sheen off Golden Quadrilateral". The Financial Express. 3 August 2011. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.
  7. "Govt declares Golden Quadrilateral complete". The Indian Express. 7 January 2012.
  8. "National Highways Development Project Map". National Highways Institute of India. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2005.
  9. Megha Bahree (21 September 2009). "Ambassador: Indian Economy Will Grow". Forbes.
  10. Govt. of India declares "Golden Quadrilateral" complete - Jan 7th 2012
  11. "NHAI - Current status". Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  12. Bihar govt wakes up to IITian's murder-Source-Rediff News
  13. NHAI report to CBI proves Dubey right, contract rules being rewritten-Source-Indian Express
  14. Whistleblower in the 2004 National Highway Authority of India case escaped from police custody on Tuesday in Patna-Source-Rediff News
  15. Satyendranath Dubey killers get life imprisonment-Source-Oneindia. com

Further reading

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