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Crucial link on Mumbai-Pune expressway still awaits nod

The MSRDC requires permission to construct in 80.03 hectares of forest land of the total 133 hectares required for the project.

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2018 01:08 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
mumbai,pune,expressway
The Mumbai-Pune expressway is India’s first controlled-access expressway.(HT file photo)

Commuters hoping for faster travel between Mumbai and Pune will have to wait a little longer, as the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is still awaiting clearance for the construction of the missing link between Khopoli and Kusgaon on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

The MSRDC requires permission to construct in 80.03 hectares of forest land of the total 133 hectares required for the project. The clearance was sought from the forest department in August last year and the authority had planned to start work by November 2017.

The forest department’s clearances take a long time, and this particular proposal involved two districts - Raigad and Pune. The process is ongoing and we expect, both the forest and environment clearance soon, ” said a senior official from the MSRDC.

MSRDC’s proposal is to build a 13.3-kilometre link between Khopoli and Kusgaon, till Sinhagad Institute, Pune, with an eight-lane capacity and a 6.5-kilometre augmentation from Khalapur toll plaza to Khopoli exit. The cost of the project has been estimated at Rs4797.57 crores.

However, as the requisite permissions have not been sought, MSRDC hasn’t been able to award contracts for the project.

In the proposal, MSRDC stated that the alignment between Khopoli and Lonavala could not be completed owing to funding issues at the time of construction. Currently, the expressway and the national highway merge, as a result of which the six lanes receive traffic intended for 10 lanes. This slows down the traffic, specifically in the ghat areas.

The realignment will allow motorists to travel at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour and cut down the travel time between the two cities by 30 minutes.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 01:03 IST