The drive to your weekend destination at Alibaug may include a small tunnel stretch.
Public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Friday told the state assembly that his department had proposed a tunnel on the 1.5km stretch at Karnala bird sanctuary to enable four-laning of the Mumbai-Goa highway.
Bhujbal was replying to a calling attention motion raised on four-laning of the narrow and often treacherous Mumbai-Goa highway that had caused 2,657 accidents in 2009-2010. Opposition legislators, including Shiv Sena’s Subhash Desai and Ravindra Waikar, had demanded that the work should start immediately to avoid further accidents.
The highway that connects Mumbai with Konkan sees heavy commuter traffic and the sharp twists and turns on this picturesque highway have proved to be fatal for as many as 597 commuters last year.
Bhujbal said work on the first phase of the highway, 84km from Palspe to Indapur would start soon as the contractor had been selected. “The only problem is for the stretch near the Karnala bird sanctuary as the forest ministry has refused to part with their land for four-laning. Now, as an alternative, we have sent a proposal for building a tunnel on this stretch,’’ he said.
Work on the 20km (last stretch from Zarap and Patradevi) has also started. However, Bhujbal admitted that a major chunk of the highway of 366km, from Indapur to Zarap, would not take off for another year.
“The feasibility report on this stretch has been accepted by the Centre. But, finalising the report, issuing the tenders, and selecting a bidder will take at least a year,” he said.
Desai made a demand for additional trauma care centre at Raigad for accident victims on the highway. The state is completing work on trauma centres at Mahad and Sangameshwar. Bhujbal said additional one would be set up if required.