A 510 km Nagpur-Shirdhi stretch of the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway (officially known as Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasahed Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg) is set to be inaugurated around Diwali this year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely dedicate phase 1 of the state-of-the-art expressway during Diwali. The expressway will provide a massive connectivity boost to the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state. The remainder of the expressway from Shirdi to Mumbai is likely to be completed by early 2023.
The 701-km long Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway will connect 10 districts (Nagpur, Wardha, Amravati, Washim, Buldhana, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Thane), 26 talukas, and 392 villages of the state. When fully operational, the expressway will reduce the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai by half, from 16 to eight hours.
The greenfield project was first announced in 2015 by the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government. The land acquisition began in July 2017, PM Modi laid the foundation stone in December 2018, and construction work started in January 2019.
The project is being led by the state infrastructure arm Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and is being developed under the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model. For the project, the MSRDC has raised debt worth Rs 28,000 crore.
The construction work of the 701 km long Mumbai–Nagpur Expressway was divided into 16 packages, with work awarded to 13 contractors, including Afcons Infrastructure, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Reliance Infrastructure.
The total cost of the expressway project, including land acquisition and engineering, is estimated to be Rs 55,332 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. Every township developed under the initiative of Krushi Samruddhi Nagar is envisaged to be built in a land area of approximately 1000-1500 hectares. The new towns shall serve as the utility economic nodes for the food processing industry, integrated logistics, domestic food markets, education centres, skill development institutes, healthcare facilities, and commercial & residential housing.
Speed Limit Notified
The Maharashtra government has also notified the maximum speed limit for vehicles traversing the Samriddhi Expressway.
The government has said vehicles can ply at 100 to 120 km/hour on the expressway. They have also listed speed limitations according to the type of vehicle.
Two-wheelers, auto rickshaws and quadricycles would not be allowed on the highway, said a notification issued on October 4.
Passenger vehicles in the `M1' category with a carrying capacity of eight persons, including driver, can travel at a maximum speed of 120 kmph on plain sections and 100 kmph in Ghat sections and tunnels, it said.
The notification added that the 701-km long expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur is designed for a top speed of 150 kmph.
Passenger vehicles with more than nine carrying capacity will have a maximum speed limit of 100 kmph on plain sections and 80 kmph in Ghat sections and tunnels.
For all types of goods vehicles falling under the N-category, the speed limit will be 80 kmph.
The notification was signed by Kulwant Kumar Sarangal, additional director general of Maharashtra Highway Police.
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