Maharashtra govt gives in-principle nod to eight infra projects

In what will be a major boost for infrastructure in Mumbai and the state, the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure in Maharashtra on Monday cleared eight projects worth Rs 53,701 crore.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has been awaiting approval for several of the projects for quite some time.

In a press release issued by the office of MSRDC Minister Eknath Shinde, it has been stated that MSRDC has been made implementing agency for six projects.

In order to solve the traffic issue on the Thane-Ghodbunder Road, the MSRDC will be constructing a 4km long elevated road connecting Thane with Ghodbunder and the same will be constructed at a cost of around of Rs 784 crore.

The other important projects include the augmentation of old Mumbai-Pune Highway at a cost of Rs 4000 crore.

"The cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure has made MSRDC as the implementing agency for 6 projects which include construction of a bridge passing over Thane creek near Vashi, Tikujiniwadi to Borivali underground road tunnel passing below SGNP, and the Bhiwandi-Kalyan Shilphata elevated road that will be constructed to solve the traffic issue." the release stated.

MSRDC has also been made the implementation agency for Mumbai to Nagpur super-communication. In an important decision towards developing infrastructure in Raigad district, the widening of Wakan-Pali-Khopoli road will be done.

Project Details

Old Mumbai-Pune augmentation plan: According to the plan, the old highway will be widened from four lanes to eight lanes and also a 9km tunnel will be constructed from Khopoli to Lonavala. It should be noted that before the actual work begins, the MSRDC will have to take permission from the Environment Ministry. In 2013, MSRDC had said that it has plans to complete the old mumbai Pune augmentation project by 2017 but due to the delay of two years the project is likely to be completed by 2019.

The project will help in segregating the old highway and the Mumbai Pune Expressway (MPE) between Khopoli and Lonavala, reducing the journey time between Mumbai and Pune by another 30-45 minutes. The tunnel is perhaps the most accident-prone area on MPE. The tunneling project is part of MSRDCs’s expansion plans.

At present, the MPE has five tunnels, with the 1.5 km long Kamshet tunnel near Pune being the longest.

The detailed plan mentions two parallel 865 and 810 metres-long bridges, apart from two sets of 1,620 and 7,755 metre-long tunnels from Khalapur to Khopoli till Lonavala. The Khopoli-Lonavala tunnel, once completed, will be the second-longest in the country after the nine km-long tunnel through the Rohtang Pass.

Vashi Bridge: MSRDC has decided to construct the bridge passing over the Thane creek connecting Vashi adjacent to the present Vashi bridge. MSRDC would construct the bridge and Public Works Department would be funding the bridge. The project has been in limbo for many years and its construction is crucial as the present Vashi creek bridge that connects Mumbai with Navi Mumbai is narrow because of which traffic jams occur during peak hours. Already the Sion Panvel Highway has been widened with five lanes on either sides and so the section of bridge is the only narrow section between Sion and Panvel because of which huge traffic jams take place during morning and evening peak hours. It will take around two years for the bridge to be ready and usable for Mumbaikars.

The design of the proposed bridges will be the same as the present one and there are no plans to make it look fancy or aesthetically appealing by constructing a cable-stayed bridge.

Thane Borivali road tunnel: The tunnel alignment is expected to start at Tiku-ji-ni wadi (Thane) and end at Ekta Nagar on WEH ( Borivali) with a 15km twin tube tunnel.

According to the plans, the tunnel will have three lanes on each side and there will be two tunnels that would be constructed. Tunnel Boring Machine technology will be used and the authorities claim that this machine causes less vibrations and so will not have any impact on the environment. The tunnels will be connected to a central 3m wide baby tunnel and the vertical clearance in the tunnel will be 5.50 m and width will be 13.1m. Two twin tunnels 50m apart in base and each tunnel will consist of unidirectional three lanes.

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