Faster and safer journey to Matheran in 2 years

Oct 14, 2015, 07:04 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

MMRDA to start work on the Rs 25-crore project that has been in the pipeline for more than two years

If things fall into place as per the plan chalked out by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Auth-ority (MMRDA), then your journey to Matheran is set to become faster and safer in the next two years.

After remaining in the pipeline for over two years, MMRDA’s project to relay the entire road between Neral and Dasturinaka (Matheran) will finally see the light of day in the next two months.

“A part of MMRDA’s Rs 3,832-crore budget for the year 2015-16 has been set aside for this project, wherein the road between Neral and Matheran will be redone. The purpose behind this project is to offer the tourists a faster and a safer commute,” said MMRDA joint project director Dilip Kawathkar.

Another officer claimed the MMRDA has made a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore for the project. He added that the narrow width and poor condition of the road between Neral and Dasturinaka posed a threat to visitors from Mumbai and Pune who frequented Matheran in the weekends.

Hence, improvements are needed at the earliest. Tourists visiting the hill station prefer travelling by road as it takes around 50 minutes as compared to two hours via toy train.

An overhaul
As part of the project, the road between Neral and Dasturinaka will be relaid. Besides black-topping, efforts will be made to extend the roads along the hairpin bends. Work comprising increasing the height of safety walls, installation of crash barriers and signboards, and markers to divide the lanes will be executed.

The project also includes repair and beautification of the exhibition spots at Matheran. An MMRDA official told mid-day that Matheran being an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), roads will be extended only along the hairpin bends in the ghat section to avoid accidents.

He added that the height of the safety wall would be increased to prevent cars from crashing down into the valley in case of a mishap.

Tourists’ demands
Tourists visiting the hill station often complain of the pothole-ridden road during and post-monsoon. Moreover, improper lane marking at times result in accidents claim motorists. Time and again, demands have been made for a better road, construction of safety wall, installation of crash barriers along hairpin bends and widening of the road in the ghat section.

Did you know?
Matheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in May 1850. Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station. The British developed Matheran as a summer retreat.

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