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Maharashtra soon to undertake work on first ‘smart highway’

Move over smart cities. Smart highways with dedicated optical fiber cable (OFC) networks, CCTVs, WiFi, electronic toll collections and e-traffic management are here.

The state government will undertake work on laying an OFC network on the Nagpur- Chandrapur highway, which will be the first smart highway as part of a “smart cluster project” covering the cities of Nagpur, Chandrapur and the industrial hub of Ballarshah. This can later be replicated on other roads and highways like the Mumbai- Pune expressway.

“We are seeking that ducts should be placed on the margins of roads and (state and national) highways and handed over to the Maharashtra State I.T Corporation for laying fiber,” Vijay Kumar Gautam, principal secretary of the Maharashtra Information Technology (I.T) department told DNA.

He added that they would undertake this on a pilot basis on the around 150-km long Nagpur- Chandrapur national highway, which is an important corridor linking north, central and south India, to convert it into the “first smart highway and cluster.”

This can be replicated in both, Greenfield and Brownfield projects, said Gautam.

“This can enable deployment of CCTVs to check crimes on highways, WiFi hotspots, and even Internet of Things (IoT) applications in agriculture like environment sensors, soil and moisture sensors and automatic pumps (in nearby areas),” noted Gautam, adding that smart parking, traffic management, e-toll and e-challans to check traffic violations could also be started.

The Rs 100 crore project will be part of a “smart cluster” project from Nagpur to Ballarshah via Chandrapur. The state government is already developing Nagpur as a smart city with a 1,200 km OFC network being laid, including core, ward rings and last-point access systems with ability to provide 10 mbps connectivity to every household in every municipal ward on demand.

The 710-km and eight-lane Mumbai- Nagpur communication super expressway, which is the largest Greenfield infrastructure development project linking the two cities, will also be equipped with an underground OFC network. This I.T backbone will enable the set-up of I.T parks, smart cities and educational institutions on the route.

This will also be deployed for solutions like automatic toll collection, automatic number plate registration, lane cutting management, CCTVs and an underground network of optical fibre, utilities and power transmission lines.

This Rs 30,000 crore “Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg,” is being constructed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and ha​s​ a Greenfield alignment from Bhiwandi near Mumbai to Maharashtra’s second capital of Nagpur.

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