Mumbai: Travel time between Mumbai and Pune will be soon reduced by around 25 minutes, following the State government’s final approval to build the 13.3-km tunnel (missing link) between Khalapur and Kusgaon on the Mumbai Pune Expressway.
The proposal was cleared by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led Cabinet Sub-Committee on infrastructure at a meeting. The committee also gave final approval to the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) and a third bridge over the Thane creek.
“As the Sub-Committee gave approval to the proposal, MSRDC can now award the contract to the lowest bidders. Work is expected to begin by the end of monsoon,” said Radheshyam Mopalwar, Managing Director, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
The link will start at Khopoli and through an interchange, lead to Kusgaon at the Pune-end of the Expressway.
After its construction, motorists heading to Pune can avoid the critical ghat section.
The Rs 4,794 crore 13-km bypass will separate traffic on the Expressway and the old Pune-Mumbai highway that presently shares the 10-km Lonavla-Khandala Ghat section and sees frequent traffic snarls. It will cost Rs 2,670 crore. Afcons Infrastructure will build the 3-km cable stay six lane viaduct for Rs 1,492 crore.
The six-lane Thane Vashi creek bridge will also deal with traffic jams at the Mumbai entry point. L&T will build the bridge at a cost of Rs 560 crore. It will widen the Sion Panvel highway to reduce traffic congestion.
According to MSRDC officials, the maximum capacity of the bridge is 12,500 passenger car units (PCUs) per day. 17,000 PCUs use it at present.
The MSRDC will form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise funds for the projects on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
- The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is presently a 6-lane road with length of 94 km.
- The Expressway and NH-4 meet near Khalapur Toll Plaza and separate near Khandala exit.
- The section of 7.2 km from Adoshi Tunnel to Khandala exit is a 6-lane road but traffic equivalent of a 10-lane road plies in this section.
- The existing section from Khopoli exit to Sinhgad Institute is 19 km. it will be reduced to 6 km after construction of the missing link and reduce travel time by 20 to 25 minutes.
- The missing link would comprise two tunnels, two viaducts with new 8-lane road.