Samruddhi Expressway will turn runway in emergencies

MUMBAI: Vast stretches of Samruddhi Expressway, which is under construction, will come handy for Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter and cargo planes in case of an emergency or a war-like situation, during which air force bases often become inaccessible. Radheshyam Mopalwar, managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is the nodal agency for the project, confirmed this to FPJ. Mopalwar also said that 22 per cent of the Expressway construction work has been completed so far,

Since the super communication expressway is 700 kilometres long, with three lanes on both the sides, at various places it provides a continuous stretch of road, which can facilitate aircraft landing.

For landing of a fighter plane, usually a three-km stretch of road is required, which is available on the Samruddhi Expressway, explained another official from the MSRDC, who didn't want to be named.

In the recent past, IAF had carried out test-landing on Yamuna Expressway near Delhi and on a stretch of Lucknow-Agra Expressway. IAF had earlier made clear its intention to activate more such stretches on highways.

Interestingly, if the project is completed on the set deadline (three years & two months) then it will turn out to be one of the finest Maharashtra projects to emerge successful with flying colours despite facing many hurdles.

In fact, of the project total, 8,311 hectares of land have been acquired by spending Rs 6,991 crore in compensation part alone. The state government had issued a government resolution (GR) wherein the project-affected landowners were compensated five times the market value of their land cost, said the official adding the majority of the acquired land was from farmers.

The super communication expressway, one of the ambitious state-run projects, is being built at a cost of Rs 55,335.32 crore. This expressway will have 24 interchanges, 38 bridges of more than 30 metres long and 283 bridges which are less than 30 metres.

About 20,000 labourers including engineers, planners, and other officials associated with this project and on-site, building the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway.

The project work has been divided into 16 packages and the date of work orders has already been issued in all the packages. The work is expected to be finished in 30 months' time period (package 1 till 13) and the remaining package work deadline is of 38 months.

Once ready, the expressway will reduce the travel time between Nagpur-Mumbai to six hours. Currently, to reach Nagpur, one has to take NH3 (Mumbai-Dhule) and then NH6 (Dhule -Nagpur) comprising 800 kilometres on road. The newly built super communication expressway will reduce about a hundred kilometres of road distance.

Six tunnels; longest between Igtapuri & Kasara Ghat

The expressway will be passing through six tunnels, the longest being constructed between Igatpuri and Kasara Ghat comprising 7.7 kilometres. On this, the official informed, 260 metres and 160 metres of tunnelling work has been completed on each side. Tunnelling work is being carried out using the New Austrian tunnelling method (NATM), also known as the sequential excavation method.

Interestingly, the tunnel will have cross passages at every 300 metres, besides fire-fighting equipment like sprinklers and public announcement facility to assist travellers in times of any eventuality like vehicle breakdown. With three lanes on each side, the tunnel will also have an additional three metres of footpath on both sides.

Raising of funds & Utility Corridor

Although the Samruddhi Mahamarg will charge a toll from the user, the money collected will not recover the project cost. Therefore, MSRDC, as planned, has left three-metre space on each side of the expressway to develop a 'Utility Corridor'.

In this corridor, utility providers like gas, petrol, electricity, etc will be allowed to put their lines and in lieu of that, the companies will be charged a certain amount of money as revenue.

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