India has one of the largest road networks in the world. Roads have been in existence since ancient times. Ashoka and Chandragupta made great efforts to build roads. A number of good roads were built during the Mughal rule. Sher Shah Suri built the Grand Trunk (G. T.) road, from Kolkata in the east to Peshawar (now in Pakistan) in the west, across the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Advantages of Roadways
- Cheap for short and medium distance travel.
- Construction and maintenance is easy and cheap.
- Can be constructed on any terrain.
- Provide door to door service.
- Essential for carrying perishable goods.
Roads in India are of different types which are classified on the basis of
(i) Strength and make - Unmetalled roads and Metalled roads
(ii) Capacity and administration - Golden Quadrilateral Super Highways, National Highways, State
highways, District Roads, Border Roads and Other Roads.
Unmetalled roads - Roads made up of mud and gravel which are generally found in the rural areas.
Metalled roads - Roads made up of cement concrete or coal tar.
Golden Quadrilateral Super Highways - Super highways are roads having 4 to 6 lanes for fast and free movement of traffic. Golden Quadrilateral is a major road having six lanes connecting the four metropolitan cities Delhi - Kolkatta - Chennai - Mumbai (5846 kms). This road project is implemented by the NHAI ( National Highway Authority of India). The main aim behind the construction of this road is to reduce time and distance between the mega cities of India.
Other Super Highways in India are:-
North-South and East-West corridors, connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari and Silchar to Porbandar 7300 kms.
Roads connecting to 10 major ports with Golden Quadrilateral and corridors, namely Kandla, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Marmagao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai and Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip and Haldia (363 kms).
National Highways - Roads connecting cities of two or more states. They are constructed and maintained by the Central Pubic Works Department.
State Highways - Roads connecting the state capital with different district headquarters. These roads are constructed and maintained by the state Public Works Department.
District Roads - Roads connecting district headquarters with other places of a district.These roads are constructed and maintained by the Zila Parishad.
Other Roads - these roads include the village roads which connects villages with towns or two villages. These roads are generally unmetalled. These roads are being converted into metalled roads under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana.
Border Roads - Roads in the frontiers of our country. These roads play an important role in the economic development of such are and also in the supply of food and ammunition to the Jawans of the Border Security Force guarding our country.