NEW DELHI: India’s Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that over 9829 kilometres National Highways were constructed during the year 2017-18.nnThis represents 20 per cent growth over the last year, when 8231 kilometres were constructed. 17055 kilometres road length was awarded in the year, against 15948 kilometres last year. Expenditure of Rs 1,16,324 crore was incurred on construction of National Highways during the year 2017-18.nnAddressing media in New Delhi, the Minister announced adoption of international system of counting of Lane Kilometres from the coming Financial Year onwards.nnHe said, the ministry has so far been calculating construction of National Highways in linear length, which did not truly reflected the amount of work completed.nnShri Gadkari informed that the work on construction of Eastern Peripheral Expressway is almost completed, and will soon be opened for public. This fully access-controlled expressway has entry and exit points through designated interchanges only. Toll will be collected only for the distance travelled, for which, toll plazas will be equipped with electronic toll collection system.nnThe Minister said, this project worth Rs 4420 crore is going to be completed in a record time of about 500 days, against the targeted 910 days. This will be the first expressway to be fully solar powered. Eight solar power plants of four megawatt capacity have been installed on the expressway. The expressway will reduce pollution and decongest the national capital, as non-delhi bound commercial vehicles will not entre the city.nnThe Minister also announced that the work on construction of 14-lane highway from Delhi to Dasna, under the ambitious Delhi-Meerut Highway project, will be completed in record time of 15 months, against the targeted 30 months. A cycle track of 2.5 metres on both sides of the highway is a unique feature. Two new 4-lane bridges on both sides of the existing major bridge on river Yamuna will convert it to a 16-lane bridge. This is the first bridge in the country to have vertical gardens with solar system and drip irrigation.