Maharashtra will soon have the second longest tunnel in the country that will connect Khopoli to Lonavla. The eight-kilometre-long tunnel, to be built off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), is part of the corporation's plan to expand the expressway and the National Highway-4 (NH-4), also known as the old Mumbai Pune Highway.
The 11-km Rohtang Tunnel, to be built under the Rohtang Pass on the Leh-Manali Highway, is India's longest tunnel that is likely to be completed by 2014.
The tunnel on the expressway will start after Khopoli off the expressway and will cut through mountains to emerge at the Sinhagad Educational Institute beyond Lonavla. The project is expected to begin by the end of 2012 and would be finished in four years' time.
"We will add two lanes to the six-lane Mumbai-Pune Express-way and two new lanes to the four-lane old highway," said Bipin Shrimali, MSRDC vice chairman and managing director.
The MSRDC expects the tunnel to serve as a dedicated lane for motorists on the expressway, solving traffic problems. At certain sections on the pass near Khandala, both NH-4 and the expressway merge to form a common road. Both routes get clogged with traffic if the pass is closed in case of accidents or landslides during the monsoon.