Two 22-metre-wide road tunnels, touted to be one of the longest four-lane tunnels in the world, would connect Mumbai and Pune by 2021, according to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The 8.9-km tunnel would be built to decrease the time taken to commute between the two cities through the existing Mumbai Pune Expressway (MPEW).
The tunnel will be a part of the Missing Link Project, a 19.8-km stretch of eight-laned roads on the MPEW which will reduce distance by 6 km and the time taken by 20-25 minutes. “Though there are tunnels longer than these, there are none of this length with four lanes. They would be the widest tunnels at this length,” explained a senior MSRDC official.
Connecting Kusgaon village to Chavani village on the Pune side, these would be twin tunnels constructed for travelling in opposite directions. Each four-lane tunnel will be 22-metre wide and separated by a distance of 50 metres. Composed of two tunnels and two viaducts alternately, the project will also include the construction of a cable-stayed bridge in a valley in Khopoli. To be constructed at a height of 130 metre, it will be a 700-metre long bridge with eight lanes. “Constructing cable-stayed bridges in valley areas is known to be a challenge,” he added.
Expected to cost Rs 4,800 crore, one of the tunnels will also be passing 150 metre below a lake in Lonavala. While bids for constructing the viaducts were invited by MSRDC on Monday, the bids to construct the two tunnels will be invited on Thursday.