With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development criteria in mind, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari wants to build an underground tunnel road to connect commercial hubs Mumbai and Surat.
Talking at a silver jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Bridge Engineers in Navi Mumbai on Friday, Gadkari said the tunnel would be designed as a ring route so that connectivity becomes easier and faster. He added that the project was likely to cost Rs 90,000 crore, for which a consultant will start working soon.
“I wanted to build an expressway between Mumbai and Surat when I was Public Works Department minister in the state, but it didn’t happen. Now, I want to explore the idea of building a tunnel to join the two cities by an underground expressway,” the minister said.
Gadkari said the department could save Rs 30,000 crore if the factory for making (pre-cast and other) material for the project is set up in Alibaug and the material is transported by sea to the construction sites.
Earlier, Gadkari had announced three satellite dry ports --- Surat in Gujarat and Wardha and Aurangabad in Maharashtra, in which the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will invest. The project is expected to reduce congestion at ports.
The dry ports will feed JNPT, Navi Mumbai, with cargo from sea and rail routes. Cargo from Aurangabad and Wardha dry port will be sent to JNPT for further exports using the rail network, while goods from Surat dry port will be sent to JNPT in small ships.
The tunnel expressway between Mumbai and Surat will also help quicker transportation of goods between the ports and save time, money and manpower.
Apart from rail route, Surat can be approached by National Highway 8 (known as Western Express Highway in Mumbai), which is a 1,428-km route between the capital of Maharashtra and New Delhi.
Idea behind it
The tunnel will be a faster alternative route for the existing four-lane national highway eight which covers a distance of 277 kms between the two cities
It takes four to five hours to reach Surat by road from Mumbai
Traffic snarls on the busy road add to the commuters’ woes
Mumbai and Surat are also connected by a rail route.
About the project
* A tunnel road to connect Mumbai with Surat
* The project is likely to cost Rs 90,000 crore
* Other ideas proposed by transport minister Gadkari had announced three satellite dry ports, including Surat in Gujarat and Wardha and Aurangabad in Maharashtra, in which the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will invest
* A dry port to come up in Surat which would be connected by waterways with JNPT
* The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will also halt in Surat