The Shirdi-Igatpuri (Bharvir) section of the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway has recently been inaugurated, marking a significant milestone in the construction of the ‘Hindu HrudaySamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg.’ This ambitious project, with an estimated cost of INR 55,350 crore, aims to revolutionize travel in Maharashtra by reducing the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai from approximately 16 hours to just 8 hours. Let’s explore the key features and benefits of this newly opened highway.
Development of the Super Expressway
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has been spearheading the construction of the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway. This mega-project, envisioned by former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and supported by the current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, commenced in 2015. The Phase I of the project, covering the Nagpur-Shirdi stretch, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2022. Now, the Shirdi-Igatpuri section, spanning 80 kilometers, has been thrown open to the public.
Key Features of the Super Expressway
The Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway is a six-lane, access-controlled, Greenfield highway that promises a seamless travel experience. Designed to accommodate high-speed travel, vehicles can reach speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour on flat terrain, with a reduced speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour in hilly and ghat sections. The Phase II of the project includes the construction of toll booths, underpasses, bridges, plazas, and other essential facilities. These developments will greatly benefit approximately one-third of Maharashtra’s population living in proximity to the Samruddhi Mahamarg.
Balancing Progress and Conservation
While the Super Expressway paves the way for progress, environmental considerations have been given due importance. To compensate for the project’s ecological impact, the government has undertaken the planting of nearly 25 lakh trees along both sides of the highway. Special attention has been paid to ensure the safety and movement of wildlife, as the route passes through three wildlife reserves. This thoughtful approach ensures a balance between development and environmental conservation.
The opening of the Shirdi-Igatpuri section of the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Expressway is a significant milestone in Maharashtra’s infrastructure development. This state-of-the-art highway promises improved connectivity, reduced travel time, and a range of socio-economic benefits. As the project nears completion, the dream of a faster and more prosperous Maharashtra is rapidly turning into a reality.