Mumbai-Goa highway: Two-lane death trap to stay till 2018

Sunday’s accident that killed seven of a family, has again raised the question of safety on the highway; motorists will only be able to use the four-lane highway in 2018

Motorists travelling on the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-66) can drive on a four-lane road only from 2018, and as data provided by traffic authorities shows, till then they must drive with care.

File pic for representation
File pic for representation

The data says around 3,620 accidents have taken place since 2013 on this highway and 787 people have been reported dead. The accident on Sunday morning, which killed 7 of a single family, also raised the question of safety on this stretch.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is carrying out the work of expanding the two-lane road into four lanes.

The highway was built in 1974 and the expansion work began in 2011 for Rs 942 crore on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

“We will build two toll nakas at Kharpada and Sukeli Khind and we will cover the amount spent,” said a project director of NHAI.

The conversion to four lanes is going on at an 84-km stretch of the highway —from Panvel to Indapur.

“We have almost completed the work on 27 km till date, and the remaining will be completed by December 2017. However, motorists will enjoy the ride on the four-lane highway only from 2018. The conversion to four lanes has geometrically improved the road. The curve radius, which was dangerous, will also be corrected and made safe. The size of the road will let motorists drive from 80 to 100 km per hour,” said the project director, adding, “The road from Indapur to Ratnagiri has been taken care of by the PWD, and recently a work order has been sanctioned for the same.”

Work halted for two years
The work on the stretch had been stopped for past two years, as the NHAI didn’t get permission from the forest department.

“A 20-km stretch on the highway comes under the Karnala bird sanctuary limits — an eco-sensitive zone. In October 2015, the forest department granted permission for this work. We still have to get permission for 1.5 km on the stretch, the core area of the forest,” said the official.

The official added that land issues and financial problems were also few reasons for delay in the work, but they have mostly been solved and the work has started again.

787
The number of people who were reported dead on this highway

3,620
The number of accidents that have taken place since 2013 on the Mumbai-Goa highway

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