Tender mercies: Alibaug-Virar corridor to have wildlife crossing

Mumbai: The Alibaug Virar Multi-Modal Corridor (AVMMC) will have an underpass (wildlife crossing) to allow animals to safely cross from Tungareshwar to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, said an official from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). “Cases of animals dying after being hit by the speeding vehicles have been reported. To avoid such mishaps, the state government has asked us (MMRDA) to build the underpass.

Once ready, the cost will be borne by all the agencies,” the official said, requesting anonymity. Apart from the MMRDA’s proposed multi-modal corridor, the elevated bullet train corridor and Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) will also pass through here.

Currently, the road, where the largest number of animal fatalities are reported, belongs to the PWD.  The official remarked, “The existing road will be elevated by six metres and beneath this, the underpass will remain for animals to cross from one part of the jungle to the other.

Vehicular movement will continue on the road above. This new road will have pillars for the elevated AVMMC. Similarly, there will be other pillars for the bullet train and for the DFCCIL.” The FPJ had in November reported after a six-year delay, the blueprint for the AVMMC project was ready and had received in-principle nod from the CM.

The approval will enable the appointment of engineers, revenue officers and other important staff required for the implementation of this project. Initially, land acquisition will happen.

The MMRDA believes the project will bring development and create job opportunities, once connectivity to towns—Panvel, Bhiwandi, Virar, Kalyan, Pen, Uran and Alibaug—is improved. The project is also expected to help decongest Mumbai. Sixty per cent of the funding is from the World Bank. The entire project’s estimated cost is `19,000 crore.

It will be completed in four phases, he said. Eight lanes are proposed on the 128-km-long road, with a metro corridor in the middle, 80 bridges, underpasses, overpasses, flyovers, and growth centres.

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