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Work orders to widen Mumbai-Goa highway to be issued soon

Come January 1 and construction work on Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway will commence, whereas in the next few months the stuck project of widening the Mumbai-Goa highway will be restarted.

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday blamed lack of environment clearances and hindrances in land acquisition among the factors for British-era Mahad Bridge collapse tragedy.

“Had there been clearances for environment and land acquired well in time, a new bridge would have been ready parallel to the existing ones,” said the minister. He also owned responsibility for the tragedy by commenting, “It is our fault. We accept it.”

As the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has revived the Mumbai-Goa Highway widening project to four lanes from the existing two lanes, a total of four packages has been put through bidding process to restart the development works. Of the four, two packages have been finalised and soon work orders will be issued. Whereas, tendering process is underway for the balance two packages for the construction work between Mumbai and Vadodara.

This popular highway has been stuck due to lack of land acquisition, but now the minister assured that a four-lane cement concrete road will by ready in 2018. An estimated Rs12,000 crore is expected to be spent to achieve the task on the 475-km long Highway.

“We have also decided that on January 1, we will kick start Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway project,” announced Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday during an Infrastructure Conclave.

The plan is to have eight lane- 380-km long Expressway through Public Private Partnership for which toll will be levied on the motorists.

There are also plans with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to develop a Palkhi Marg/ Road along the traditional procession route of Alandi-Pandharpur and Dehu-Pandharpur. “A four-lane cement-concrete road will be developed, where on the sides there will be various amenities for the devotees participating in the procession,” mentioned Gadkari. Among the amenities would include, rest areas, sheds, toilets, drinking water facility, etc.

Gadkari said he would also make a provision of Rs 6,000 crore for construction of Palkhi Marg (route) from Dehu to Alandi and to Pandharpur very soon.

There are also plans to commence work on Butibori in Nagpur and Ratnagiri Road worth Rs 12,000 crore.

While addressing the gathering, Gadkari accepted that during his tenure there has been an increase in road accidents by 4%. “Road engineering is one of the main reasons behind the increase in the number of accidents.

We are working towards it and in the next five years we plan to bring down the number of road accidents by 50%,” said the minister.

After NDA government having got elected, the MoRTH decided to increase the length of the road for National Highways from 96,000 km to 2 lakh km. The Union government has set a target to award 25,000 km in 2016-17- 15,000 km through NHAI and 10,000 km through National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). The target set for construction of national highways daily has been increased from 16.6 km in the financial year 2015-16 to 41 km in 2016-17.

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