Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari undertook a coastal drive by road from San Francisco to Los Angeles to gain first-hand experience of the latest techniques in road engineering, highway construction, road signage and other effective measures for road safety along this prestigious ocean route. On the last leg of his week-long official visit to the US, Shri Gadkari left San Francisco early in the morning yesterday by road and completed the journey in ten hours covering a distance of 800 Kms in the winding hilly terrain, thick forests and some desert patches along the west coast overseeing the pacific ocean.
Shri Gadkari said the idea behind undertaking this tedious journey was to understand the technology, machinery and construction material being used by the transportation department and other local agencies in the US in constructing and maintaining the amazing overhangs and cliffs along the difficult coastline and the innovative engineering involved in the improvement of projects both on and off the highway system. The Road Transport & Highways Minister is currently engaged in constructing national highways in the difficult terrains of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the North-Eastern region and Himalayas- from Pithoragarh to Mansarovar and from Haridwar to Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Badrinath & Kedarnath.
Shri Gadkari said he was impressed by the tunneling technology and the lovely scenic spots along the curves on the highways and coastal roads which have been converted into centres of tourist attraction with road side amenities like restaurants, shops, entertainment facilities and camping sites. He was told that most of California’s highways are more than a half-century old and carry nearly half of the nation’s goods traffic. Heavy loads pound California’s highways more than any other state and sustain 190 billion vehicle kms travelled in 2015
Shri Gadkari appreciated the projects being undertaken for repairing bumpy pavements, preserving roads that are in good condition from deteriorating and upgrading bridges to make them safer and stronger. He also witnessed widening of hard shoulders and installation of drainage, relocation of utility, and realignment of local road intersections along the route he travelled along with a team of senior officials from his ministry.These highways and coastal roads are regularly maintained and upgraded with crash barriers, signage to make all weather travel safe, Shri Gadkari was told.
The Minister also witnessed improved safety measures such as metal screens and mesh along the hilly terrain to prevent landslides hitting the roads, road markings, proper signage with adequate warning signals. SOS call boxes being run with solar panels.He was informed that maintenance staff works day and night to keep the highways clear and safe for all motorists. They do patching pavement, replacing signs, striping lanes, clearing vegetation, removing trash and graffiti.