Screenshot of the webinar— The changing contours of Maharashtra
Screenshot of the webinar— The changing contours of Maharashtra

Samruddhi Expressway, which will connect Mumbai and Nagpur will reduce travel time to just eight hours. It will soon be commissioned in a phased manner. But while this is on, there are plans to connect 36 districts in the state with each other via expressway, stated the top officials of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

The top officials of MSRDC namely Radheshyam Mopalwar, VC & Managing Director, along with joint managing directors — Vijay Waghmare and Chandrakant Pulkundwar were talking about Samruddhi Mahamarg at a webinar series organised by The Free Press Journal and MSRDC.

Radheshyam Mopalwar said, “All 36 districts of Maharashtra over the period of next two decades will have expressway connectivity connecting every other district.” This is a vision the state is looking forward to. He added that the way forward was to invest in greenfield projects as the way to economic growth. “In any economy greenfield expressways boost economies more than brownfield connectivity,” Mopalwar stated.

Vijay Waghmare said MSRDC has tried to introduce a lot of innovative initiatives to make the Samruddhi expressway future ready. “Along with the planning of the road, MSRDC also made sure that there is an option for a utility corridor in that.” This allowed space for (data) optical fibre and gas pipelines along with other basic utilities. This project will generate 450 MWs of solar energy, as per the feasibility study, stated Waghmare. MSRDC is trying to encourage electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the expressway as well. Waghmare claimed, “In the next 5-10 years, EV will be the future. This expressway will be differentiated due to its advanced EV infrastructure.” Such initiatives are expected to attract investments from domestic and international investors.

The project will have 50 toll plazas, and more than 300 toll lanes in the expressway.

Along with economic growth, Chandrakant Pulkundwar said, MSRDC ensured there is an ecological balance as well. “MSRDC was required to plant 8.63 lakh trees (as per norm) but MSRDC has a plan of planting more than 12 lakh trees on both sides of the expressway,” Pulkundwar added. “All plants will be geotagged and these plants will be connected with drip irrigation systems. We have botanical institutions that have recommended the species based on the region.” He asserted the biggest achievement of this project is being able to acquire the land in one and half years’ time and paying 80 per cent of money to farmers through direct transfer.

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