Mumbai-Nagpur expressway’s first phase to open on May 1: Maharashtra CM

Maharashtra chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said the first phase (between Nagpur and Shirdi) of the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur expressway will be open to public on May 1 next year, while the entire corridor will be ready by May 2022.

Thackeray made the announcement while reviewing the work for the mega project at Amravati and Aurangabad districts. He was accompanied by urban development and public works department (public undertaking) minister Eknath Shinde, district legislators and ministers Yashomati Thakur, Sanjay Rathod, Abdul Sattar and senior officials during the visit.

“The entire state is awaiting the Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Samruddhi Expressway. We are confident that it will be the best in the country. We will produce an expressway that Maharashtra will be proud of. I am confident that you will be able to travel on the corridor between Nagpur and Shirdi from May 1, 2021. The entire project up to Mumbai will be completed by May 2022,” Thackeray told reporters at Amravati.

The CM travelled about 6km on the under-construction portion of the expressway at Amravati to check the quality and speed. He expressed his satisfaction with the work. CM said the work was for the project was affected owing to the lockdown but the construction did not stop.

According to senior officials from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the executing body for the project, the Nagpur-Shirdi stretch is 520-km-long.

An official said, “About 80% of the work has been completed on the stretch. We are going to push the contractors to finish the work in the next five months to throw it open to motorists on Maharashtra Day [May 1].”

The second phase of the project has ghat sections and tunnels in Nashik and Thane districts and therefore would take more time to finish, the official added.

The eight-lane expressway, which is named after Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, is expected to cut down the travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur by eight hours, as per MSRDC. Currently, it takes around 16- 18 hours to travel between the two cities.

The ₹55,332 crore project will pass through 10 districts of the state and provide easier connectivity to 14 other surrounding districts. The expressway will also connect 26 talukas and 392 villages between the two cities.

The state has also planned to develop 20 townships and nodes along the route of the expressway to boost local industries and create employment.

The ambitious project to link the state’s capital and the second capital through the expressway was proposed by the previous state government in 2016 and it was regarded as a pet project of the then CM Devendra Fadnavis.

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