Your drive from Mumbai to Pune will be smoother, faster and free of traffic jams in a few years, once plans for capacity augmentation of the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the old highway are executed. The plan aims to make 14 lanes available for traffic. The project is expected to take four to five years for completion, and will reduce travel time between two the cities by almost 45 minutes.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has decided to construct a new 12-km link between Khopoli and Sinhgad Institute, which will have an eight-lane road consisting of both elevated road and tunnels, and will reduce the distance between these two points from the existing 18km to 12km. The stretch will have a total of 14 lanes.
There will be two elevated roads – 810m and 865m – and two tunnels – 1.62km and 7.77 km – in the link. The elevated roads will be constructed at a considerable height, with the help of cablestayed bridges. The 7.77-km long tunnel will be one of the longest tunnels in the country.
In addition, two additional lanes will be added to the existing six-lane expressway and fourlane old highway – barring the stretch between Khopoli and Sinhgad Institute – making the expressway and the old highway eight-lane and six-lane roads respectively.
At present, traffic from the expressway and the old highway converge on the six-lane stretch between Khopoli and Khandala, causing traffic congestion.
MSRDC said the project will incur expenses of Rs 7,000 crore and will be developed on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) mode.
MSRDC minister Eknath Shinde said, “Due to the feud between Congress and NCP, which ran the previous government, no decision was taken on such an important project for years, and the cost escalated from Rs 4,000 crore in 2012 to the present Rs 7000 crore. We have decided to develop the project on BOT mode and are working on a plan to arrange funds for it.”
MSRDC will soon submit the plan to a cabinet subcommittee on infrastructure headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, said Shinde.
While MSRDC will not add any additional toll plazas on the expressway and the old highway to fund the plan, it has decided to extend existing toll collection till 2030. “As per the central government’s rule, we can collect toll on these highway till 2030 and the revenue generated through toll will be used for implementation of the plan,” said Arun Deodhar, advisor to MSRDC.