CIVIL WORK on Maharashtra’s longest tunnel – one of the six tunnels to come up on the 701-km eight-laned Mumbai-Nagpur Samurddhi Mahamarg or Super communication Expressway Corridor — is now complete with 100 per cent road concretisation done, officials said. The tunnel is located between Igatpuri and Kasara Ghat.
“The construction of the concrete road under the twin tunnel has been now completed, which is the most crucial task after the tunnelling work. Now, the electric work like installation of lights, fans and other work are pending. They will also be completed soon,” said an official from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
Out of the six tunnels to be constructed en route the Greenfield Expressway, the 7.7-km twin tunnels between Kasara Ghat and Igatpuri will be the longest and widest highway tunnel in Maharashtra, officials said.
The 7.7-kilometers twin tunnels with a width of 17.5meters have three lanes on each side of the road and will enable the motorists to cross the Kasara ghat in just 6-7 minutes as against the present 15 minutes.
According to the officials, the tunnels have been designed to last for 100 years and for a vehicular speed limit of over 120 kmph. An official said the tunnel has been built using a modern technology called ‘New Australian Tunnelling Method’, also known as ‘design as you go’ method. The Samruddhi Mahamarg is being built in a total of 16 packages covering 10 districts between Mumbai and Nagpur and is going to be the fastest expressway in the country, officials said.
The tunnel falls under the package 14 of the project and will mitigate the 160-metre elevation difference of Kasara hills, they added. The Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway, named as ‘Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg’, will be the fastest expressway in the country with permitted top speed of 150 km/hr, officials said. This will reduce the travel time between the two cities to eight hours from the current 16 hours, they added.
The entire project cost was earlier finalised at Rs 46,000 crore. However, with further developments in construction, planning and land pooling, the total project cost increased to Rs 55,335 crore, making it one of the major megaprojects in the state.