Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Roads in India

When I last visited India in '96, the roads were terrible.  It took us 12 hours of winding up and down hills to get from Bombay to Pune, including hours where traffic stopped so completely that we ended up leaving the car to wander around.

At the time, I read in newspapers how India wanted to fix this problem- Private roads were coming to India!  Businessmen would build roads and recoup the costs by charging tolls (Oh, silly 90s folk, privatization was the solution to *everything*?).

16 years later I return to India to see how it turned out.  The results are so-so.  Some roads are privately owned, but it seems most still aren't.  Compared to the publicly owned Chinese highway system (which really are first class), Indian roads are still lacking.  You can travel around India faster than before (Pune-Bombay is about 3 hours, Delhi-Agra is first world quality), but other roads were pretty mediocre.

Here is the Pune-Bombay highway.

Many roads are still pretty chaotic, although traffic flows a bit more freely than I remember.

The Jaipur-Agra road wasn't really all that modern, in places it reminded me of India decades back.

Bombay has built all sorts of raised roads and bridges to ease the flow of traffic, including a road that just juts out into the ocean, coming back up north to bypass some crowded areas.

The old giant colorful trucks still can still often be seen, but unlike before, the exhaust pipes don't empty into neighboring car windows.

The Bombay-Pune highway was so different (and advanced) that I didn't recognize anything, until I saw good ol' "Duke's Nose".

Here is Duke's Nose off of a windy road in the 70s.

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