Holi was around the corner and I decided to take to the road again for this trip to my home town.
From Delhi, I took the Noida Greater Noida Expressway to reach Yamuna Expressway. It is always such a pleasure driving on this expressway. They have either closed some of the existing restrooms / cafeterias or outsourced them to some dhaba operators. However, more swanky modern food retail chain outlets (like Dominos, Vango, Bikaners, CCD, etc have found place on it.
I generally stop after 2nd toll plaza but that place was overcrowded hence I skipped to the last one. Since I was about to take a completely new and untraveled road (Agra Lucknow Expressway) I was not sure about the amenities available there. After finishing our light refreshments at the 3rd toll plaza on Yamuna Expressway, I started driving towards Agra.
I had heard a lot about AGRA LUCKNOW Expressway so decided to take a chance on this road, even though no concrete information was available on the condition and amenities on it. I had read somewhere on the net that Yamuna Expressway was not connected to ALE, and one has to drive till Shikohabad to take the Agra Lucknow Expressway, however, I found that is not true, YEW is now seamlessly connected to Agra Lucknow Expressway by means of Agra Inner Ring Road. A toll plaza is under construction on the Inner Ring Road. Drive for some distance on the Agra Inner Ring Road, and you will find signboards showing a left turn for Agra Lucknow Expressway.
The Agra Lucknow Expressway is a superbly built tarmac road but that is it. It is just a road, no amenities, no toll plazas, no eateries as of now. There are no petrol pumps, no garages either. However, if you are tanked up and your vehicle is in good condition, it will take less than 3 hrs to complete the journey from Agra to Lucknow or vice versa.
It was a pleasure driving on this road. I counted 57 vehicles while going towards Lucknow on this expressway which means a lot of people are still unaware of it. I tried to maintain a consistent speed of 120 kmph on this road, but to my surprise I found I was driving at 130-135 kmph. There is very little noise while driving on this road. I encountered total 4 small diversions (diversion means when you have to drive on the wrong side of the expressway).
This expressway was supposed to be connected to all districts enroute, however, that works is still in pipeline.
I saw some cloverleaves without any signage and relied on google maps to find out which city it would connect to.
I covered the distance of 500+ kilometres, starting from Yamuna Expressway Entry Point to Agra Lucknow Expressway Exit Point, in less than 5 hours!!! Lucknow Shatabdi Express Train takes 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Salient Points while driving on this new expressway:
The divider fence has been broken by locals in many places and you may encounter people jumping over fences to cross.
At one or two places I saw people driving in wrong direction but that too was not a concern considering the width of expressway and very little traffic on it.
I saw too many dead carcasses of dogs and jackals on this expressway. Now the side fences and driving are being done and almost complete so hopefully there will be less such animals on the road. However, mercifully, there were no live animals on the road.
Width of this expressway is less than that of Yamuna Expressway, either the lanes are narrow or the side greenery is missing or both.
Driving on this road is a soothing experience for the eyes because of scenic greenery all around.
There are no amenities on this expressway (as yet). No signage either. One or 2 interchanges (for Etawah, Kannauj are complete rest are still work in progress).
Once you reach Lucknow end of this road, do NOT take the better looking MOHAAN road, take the normal looking LUCKNOW ROAD if you intend to go to Lucknow).
if you drive straight on the connecting road (NH-230) at Lucknow end, you will be on VIP Road which will take you to NH-27.
Suggest to keep enough eatables and drinking water for traveling on this expressway. Advise to keep off this road during night.
Travel on this expressway only during day time.
Overall a pleasant experience while driving on this expressway which by the way is marked as “Asia’s Largest Access Controlled Expressway”.