The two-lane Shillong bypass in Meghalaya, India, consists of 500 km of high altitude road, built with the help of Volvo equipment.
Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India and home to the tribal Khasis people of India. It is located 1,496 meters (4,908 feet) above sea level, with the highest point being Shillong Peak at almost 2,000m (6,562 feet). The capital is known as the ‘Scotland of the East’ because it reminded its British settlers of their rainy homeland and has a much cooler climate than the rest of tropical India. Shillong is also only 34 miles (55 km) away from Mawsynram – officially the world’s wettest place.
The Shillong by-pass connects the top of the main NH-40 highway starting at Umiam in Ri-Bhoi district to the bottom of the NH-44 highway at Mawryngknend in the East Khasi Hills district. It included building about 500 km of road for two-lane traffic as well as a 2.5 meter shoulder on each side. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) awarded the project to Shillong Expressway, which then contracted out the work to leading infrastructure company, InfraProjects.
The total project cost an estimated 2,510 million Rupees (30 million Euros) and was completed in spring this year, two years after the project began in 2011. The work was finished before its scheduled completion date and has raised the expectation of more road construction in the region. Two major high level steel girder bridges were also constructed – 45 meters long and 30 meters high – as well as five minor bridges, an underpass, four bypasses, two major junctions, 64 small junctions and seven bus bays.
GR Infra Projects. Ltd. used Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) hydraulic excavators throughout the project, including five 14 tonne class EC140BLC and two 20 tonne EC210B-Series models to dig and remove overburden.
Because of the mountainous terrain, a lot of cut and fill was required, resulting in a huge amount of earth moving in order to keep to schedule. For day-to-day operations the company also used other Volvo machines including, four DD100 double drum asphalt compactors, two SD110 soil compactors, G930 motor graders, L120 wheel loaders and an ABG7820 asphalt paver.
“The Volvo team spent a lot of time understanding what the specific requirements of the project were in order to provide machines precisely configured for our working environment,” says Ratan Lal Kashyap, vice president of procurement at GR Infra Projects. “Volvo CE equipment scores highly on efficiency and fuel economy and our local Volvo dealer – Esdee Solutech – was efficient in the delivery of the machines – no easy task as the project’s logistics were complicated and called for a lot of planning.”
Volvo CE made sure an on-call service team was always available, ensuring prompt service and to provide training to the company’s mechanics and machine operators.
“Machine maintenance and unplanned downtime was very low as the key challenge in great road building is being organised from day one and then having machines and people you can trust on site,” says Vinod Agarwal, managing director of GR Infra Projects. Ltd. “We are proud of what we have achieved and a formidable fleet of Volvo machines is paving new ways of success for the company across North India. And for quality road construction, we can always rely on Volvo.”
Founded in 1965, GR Infra Projects. Ltd specializes in building highways and bridges across India, employing about 130 civil engineers. The company has successfully delivered over 150 road projects, including an incredible 3,200 km in Rajasthan, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and the North-East, almost always being finished ahead of the completion date. “That’s our strength really – beating deadlines,” says Mahendra Agarwal, company director of GR Infra Projects. “Time saved is money earned in this business and our partnership with Volvo CE is on a roll.”
“This is a first for the north east region in that a highway of this magnitude has been completed ahead of schedule,” adds Vinod Agarwal. “To boost our country’s Gross GDP we need sustained investments in infrastructure. This road will now go a long way in reducing the frequent traffic congestion in the state capital of Shillong, as heavy vehicles including trucks can be diverted through the bypass without having to travel through the busy city.”
Picture 1 : A highway surrounded by beauty
Picture 2 : A perfectly smooth finish