Mumbai: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday laid the foundation stones for two highway projects worth Rs 1,600 crore in Mumbai metropolitan region. The projects include eight-laning the Vadape-Thane bypass (of NH-3) and four-laning of the road connecting Shahapur, Murbad, Karjat and Khopoli (which fall on NH 3 and NH 4), falling in the Mumbai metropolitan region.
Gadkari also said the work on the Baroda-Mumbai highway is expected to begin within the next fortnight. Of the Rs 1,600 crore projects, the Vadape-Thane bypass project is worth Rs 1,183-crore and will be executed by MEP Infra on hybrid annuity mode. The company in a statement said it has achieved financial closure for the project by tying up project finance of Rs 567.8 crore from a consortium of banks led by YES Bank. MEP has 10 projects in the hybrid annuity mode across Maharashtra and Gujarat totaling Rs 7,942 crore covering 1,893 lane kms.
The Vadape-Thane bypass project envisages building a new railway over-bridge and two new major bridges on the Thane Creek and will have to be completed in 30 months. Gadkari said for the proposed 12-lane Delhi-Mumbai expressway, the government has adopted a new method to acquire land from the tribals, which will help in developing the region and also save money on land acquisition.
Gadkari also underlined the need for promoting waterways as it a speedy and cheaper means of transport and said several waterway projects in and around Thane will be a reality soon. He also said the waterways should be linked on the lines of Venice. The minister said the double-decker airbus will be a reality soon and could be made use of in many places for easy means of transport. Gadkari, who also heads the shipping and ports ministry said the JNPT can also be a part of the new body to be formed for water transport.