The much talked about Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, also known as Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasahed Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is most likely to partially open around Diwali.
Touted as a game changer project for Vidarbha Region, the state government led by Eknath Shinde is looking at giving the project as a “Diwali Gift” to Maharashtra.
The project’s first phase, between Nagpur to Shirdi, a stretch of 520 kms is slated for an opening during the Diwali festival. With the BJP back as part of the state government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s availability is also being checked expressway’s inauguration.
Having the Prime Minister do the honours holds significance for the BJP, in the wake of elections that are to be held at several local bodies in Maharashtra, including those along the Expressway.
“Notification on speed limits on the expressway. This is the first step towards working to partially open the project for motorists,” said a state official.
As per the document issued by the state, a maximum speed of 120 kmph (kilometers per hour) is allowed on flat or non-hilly terrain and 100 kmph on hilly stretches for vehicles having up to 8 passenger seats. Likewise, people driving vehicles with 9 and above passenger carrying capacity will have to limit their acceleration to 100 kmph on flat surfaces and 80 kmph on hilly sections. For heavy vehicles, the speed limit on both types of terrains has been capped at 80 kmph.
Two-wheelers, three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, and four-wheeled auto-rickshaws have been disallowed to use the expressway being constructed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
Earlier this year, the state authorities had announced throwing the stretch between Nagpur and Shelu Bazar at Washim of about 201 km open on May 2. But it was cancelled owing to damage to a wildlife overpass.
At the moment, the stretch between Shirdi to Mumbai (up to Thane) is under construction and likely to open only in 2023.
The 701-km long Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway will connect 10 districts, 26 talukas, and 392 villages and will cut down travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai by half from 16 to eight hours.
The project’s cost stands at a whopping Rs 55,332 crore including engineering cost of Rs 40,000 crore. Over Rs 22,000 crore has been spent. For the project, the MSRDC has raised debt worth Rs 28,000 crore.
The MSRDC has plans to develop 19 new towns along the expressway, of which it has prepared a development plan for eight. Out of these eight new towns, land acquisition for six will be completed by June next year. The idea is to get investments and establish various industries in the new towns.
VEHICLE: Upto 8 passenger seats
NON-HILLY: 120 kmph
HILLY TERRAIN: 100 kmph
VEHICLE: 9 passenger seats and above
NON-HILLY: 100 kmph
HILLY TERRAIN: 80 kmph
VEHICLE: Heavy vehicles
NON-HILLY: 80 kmph
HILLY TERRAIN: 80 kmph
NOT ALLOWED: Two-wheelers as well as auto-rickshaws with three and four wheels
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