India has one of the largest road networks in the world, aggregating to about 54.7 lakh km. The growing importance of road transport over rail transport is mentioned below:

  1. The construction cost of roads is much lower than that of railway lines.
  2. Roads can cover more geographically harder locations that cannot be done by the railways.
  3. Roads can negotiate higher gradients of slopes and can be easily built-in traverse mountains such as the Himalayas.
  4. Road transport is economical.
  5. It also provides door-to-door service
  6. Road transport provides links between railway stations, air and seaports.

In India, roads are classified in the following six classes according to their capacity.

Golden Quadrilateral Super Highways

Golden Quadrilateral is a network of Highways connecting India’s four top metropolitan cities, namely Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai. These highway projects are being implemented by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

National Highways

The National highways are a network of trunk roads that are laid and maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The historical Sher-Shah Suri Marg is called National Highway No.1, between Delhi and Amritsar.

State Highways

Roads linking a state capital with different district headquarters are known as State Highways. These roads are constructed and maintained by the State Public Works Department (PWD).

District Roads

These roads connect the district headquarters with other places of the district. These roads are maintained by the Zila Parishad.

Other Roads

Rural roads, which link rural areas and villages with towns, are classified under this category. These roads received special impetus under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana.

Border Roads

Border Roads Organisation constructs and maintains roads in the bordering areas of the country. This organisation was established in 1960 for the development of the roads of strategic importance in the northern and north-eastern border areas.

Roads can also be classified on the basis of the type of material used for their construction such as:

  • Metalled roads may be made of cement, concrete or even bitumen of coal. These are all-weather roads.
  • Unmetalled roads go out of use in the rainy season.

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