Now on cards: An expressway from Mumbai to Goa
If the project materialises, motorists can zip through the expressway in five to six hoursmumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2017 23:23 IST
After mooting a ‘super communication’ Expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur, the state government is now exploring the possibility of a green-field expressway between Mumbai and Goa. If the project materialises, motorists can zip through the expressway in five to six hours.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has asked it to take up the project. “NHAI had asked MSRDC if we can implement the expressway between Mumbai and Goa and we have sent them our affirmation. We will carry out the feasibility study,” PWD (public undertaking) minister Eknath Shinde told HT.
The NHAI has already begun widening the national highway between Mumbai and Goa. The busy NH-66 (previously NH-17) is a two-lane road making it accident-prone and hence the need to widen it into four lanes. Apart from this, the state government has also planned a coastal road to develop the Konkan belt and to reduce the distance between Mumbai and Goa. Better connectivity via an expressway like the one that connects Mumbai and Pune would give a boost to development in the Konkan belt. It would also help tourists reach Konkan and Goa faster by road.
When asked about the need for an expressway when the existing road is already being widened, Shinde said, “We will examine every aspect in our study — existing and planned roads, current traffic and estimated increase.”
However, senior state government officials said the MSRDC has its hands full at the moment with the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway. Officials said the MSRDC intends to put the expressway on track and only then take up the Mumbai-Goa project. “The focus of the MSRDC is currently on the Mumbai-Nagpur project because it is being monitored closely by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The MSRDC has written to the NHAI that it will implement the project,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.
The official said the MSRDC, which is facing opposition to acquire land for the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, will face similar challenges while implementing the Mumbai-Goa expressway project. “It will be interesting on what alignment would be taken for the expressway. If it is closer to the coast, people would oppose giving up their land and if it is inwards then there are forest areas to navigate through,” the official said.