The ambitious Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg Phase 1 between Nagpur and Shirdi was expected to be open for traffic from May 1, 2021 however, it will be delayed due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is undertaking this expressway construction work.
According to an official from the MSRDC, who did not wish to be named said, "Workers are leaving the site due to the surge in Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra. The situation in the Northeastern part of the state is grim therefore the project is affected. Besides, the restrictions imposed by the government to control the situation have further affected the supply of raw materials."
The entire expressway is 701 kilometers long and till March 31, 2021 about 52.6 per cent of the financial progress and 55 per cent of the civil progress has been recorded, as per the MSRDC.
The official further asserted, the Phase 1 inauguration of Samruddhi Mahamarg may get delayed by two months and if the lockdown is imposed as the state government plans to, then the delay may extend further, said the official.
According to plans, the MSRDC after starting Phase 1, was to open up the second phase of 103 km between Shirdi and Igatpuri by December 2021 while the remaining 78 km between Igatpuri and Wadpe near Mumbai was to be commissioned on May 1, 2022. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, all the phase deadlines maybe eventually affected.
The Expressway connecting 10 districts, 26 talukas and 392 villages once ready will cut down the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai from the existing 16 to eight hours. Currently, to reach Nagpur, one has to take NH3 (Mumbai-Dhule) and then NH6 (Dhule -Nagpur) comprising 800 kilometers.