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Pune-Mumbai Expressway: Khopoli-Kusgaon bypass makes the final cut

The project was delayed because of the delay in acquiring the Forest Rights Act (FRA) certificate of 80.03 hectares of forest land of the total 133 hectares required for project.

pune Updated: Mar 20, 2018 17:16 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
expressway,Bypass,Pune
The Pune-Mumbai Expressway in Pune. The 13.3 km bypass between Khopoli and Kusgaon will be constructed on the Pune-Mumbai expressway. (Pratham Gokhale/HT REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

Commuters hoping for faster travel options between Pune and Mumbai might soon be able to save almost 20 minutes on their journey between the cities. The Raigad collectorate is likely to give the Forest Rights Act (FRA) certificate to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) within two days, facilitating the construction work of the 13.3 kilometre bypass road between Khopoli and Kusgaon on the Pune-Mumbai expressway.

MSRDC’s ₹4,800 cr e-way bypass
To solve the ever-present traffic snarls on the stretch between Lonavla and Khopoli of the Pune-Mumbai expressway, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has decided to construct a 13.5 km bypass between Khalapur toll plaza and Kusgaon at the cost of ₹4,800 crore.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had decided to construct a 13.3 kilometre bypass between Khopoli and Kusgaon, till Sinhgad Institute, Pune, with an eight-lane capacity and a 6.5 kilometre augmentation from Khalapur toll plaza to Khopoli exit in November 2017. The project was delayed because of the delay in acquiring the FRA certificate of 80.03 hectares of forest land of the total 133 hectares required for project.

The Pune district collectorate has already approved the project and the Raigad collectorate is likely to issue the certificate within the next two days with all required procedures completed, said MSRDC officials on Monday.

“The issuance of the FRA certificate has taken a long time as it was important to check whether the respective land belongs to any tribal community. Till date, we have received the certificate from the Pune collectorate while Raigad collectorate has completed all the necessary procedure and is expected to release the certificate in the next two days. This will tremendously speed up the process,” said Shankar Dhote,chief engineer at MSRDC.

MSRDC officials citied that they had issued the request for proposal (RFP) to 16 contractors; eight for the viaduct and eight for the tunnel; last week. The contractors will have to carry out a detailed study and approach MSRDC within the next 45 days. “In the time period, we will arrange the pre-bid conference to answer the doubts and queries of all contractors and only then will they have to approach us with the request for quotation (RFQ).”

MSRDC has received responses from eight foreign and eight Indian companies for the project which is worth of Rs 4,797 crore. The project is expected to be completed in three years.

According to the state’s government resolution dated November 24, 2017, it was decided to construct a 13.5km bypass between Khalapur toll plaza and Kusgaon, which will reduce travel time by almost 20 minutes. For the project, MSRDC had called two separate tenders, one each for the viaduct and for the tunnel. Currently, the expressway and the national highway merge, as a result of which, the six lanes see traffic intended for approximately 10 lanes. This slows down the traffic flow, especially in the ghat areas.The realignment will allow motorists to travel at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour and will cut down travel time between the two cities by 30 minutes, said officials.

Made operational in 2002, the 94.5 kilometre-long Pune-Mumbai expressway is a key link between the two cities. Officially known as the Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the six-lane high-speed highway reduced travel time between Mumbai and Pune to about two hours.

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 22:50 IST