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Covid-19 Pushes Mumbai-Nagpur Highway Commissioning by 6 Months; No Cost Overruns

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The 520-km stretch between Nagpur and Shirdi will be thrown open for vehicular movement on May 1, 2021, and will be followed by it getting extended further to Bhiwandi on the outskirts of the financial capital in December the same year, to take the length to 623 km.

Mumbai: The coronavirus pandemic has impacted work on the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, and the ambitious Rs 55,000-crore project will now be ready to use in May 2022 as against the earlier target of December 2021, a top MSRDC official said on Thursday. The 520-km stretch between Nagpur and Shirdi will be thrown open for vehicular movement on May 1, 2021, and will be followed by it getting extended further to Bhiwandi on the outskirts of the financial capital in December the same year, to take the length to 623 km.

The project's overall length is 700 km, and it is designed to be an eight-lane greenfield (new) highway with new alignment which is called the 'Samruddhi' or prosperity corridor because of its potential to change the economic landscape of the regions it passes through. Radheshyam Mopalwar, vice-chairman and managing director of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), said maximum work was to take place in the summer months of March to June, but the lockdown impacted construction this year.

The number of workers on the sites had gone down to 10,000 in June from a peak of 18,000 and has now come back to 20,000, he said. Currently, work on over 152 km of the highway, which will be a toll road, has been completed and the work is in full swing.

Mopalwar said the delay will, however, not lead to a cost escalation as all the 15 packages have been tendered out and added that the overall cost of the project stays at Rs 55,335 crore. Land acquisition has been fully completed at a cost of over Rs 7,500 crore, he said adding that Rs 40,000 crore is the engineering cost or the cost of construction.

The highway will have electric charging facilities at all the 28 service plazas, Mopalwar said. In the first phase opening, there may be a stretch of around 50 km in Washim and Buldhana districts where work on only one side of the highway will be complete to start with.

Meanwhile, Mopalwar said the MSRDC is also planning to raise up to Rs 15,000 crore by monetising land parcels in Napean Sea Road, Bandra and along the Mumbai-Pune expressway that it holds. The bidding process on this was to start in April itself but has been pushed on the advice of a realty consultant, Mopalwar said adding that a decision on the same is expected in the next 15 days.

On the Virar-Alibag corridor, which has been recently awarded to MSRDC, Mopalwar said land acquisition is the real challenge and once a substantial amount of land is in possession, the body will invite bids from companies by June 2021 for construction to start post-monsoon in September 2021.


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