The Centre on Tuesday announced the first phase of the BharatMala highway project, which is the Road Transport and Highway Ministry’s biggest ever highway development plan.

The Finance Ministry announced details of the project at a press conference, where they laid out the Centre’s plan to boost the economy.

About 34,800 km of roads will be constructed under the BharatMala project, which includes an investment of Rs 5.35 lakh crore over five years. Part of it will be funded by money raised from the market and private investments, and the remaining will come from its funds for roads and highway toll.

The announcement, which comes a few months after Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the project would be launched soon, and that it would include the construction of about 2,000 km of coastal roads to boost tourism and industrial development.

The objective of the BharatMala project, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said, was to remove bottlenecks in key economic corridors and improve the flow of traffic by building 9,000 km of economic corridors as well as inter-corridor and feeder routes of 6,000 km to “ensure holistic connectivity”.

The Finance Ministry said it expected to generate jobs of 14.2 crore man-days under the overall road expansion programme over the next five years.