As a stop-gap measure Maharashtra will interlink five national highways—that connect Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Pune, and Goa—with each other. The project, estimated to cost Rs 350 crore, will be completed in two years. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will construct roads that will link NH8 (Mumbai-Ahmedabad), NH3 (Nashik-Agra), NH222, (Ahmednagar), NH4 (Mumbai-Pune), and NH17 (Mumbai-Goa). The link roads promise to ease travel time, fuel expenses, road congestion and pollution in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. “This is an attempt to limit the entry of vehicles into the highly congested Mumbai and Thane regions. It will reduce travel time between Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Pune, which is an industrial corridor,” said MMRDA spokesman Dilip Kawathkar. In the first part of the project, MMRDA will construct a two-lane road connecting Shirsad on NH8 (Mumbai-Ahmedabad) to Vasind on NH3 (Nashik-Agra). “In some areas on this route, there is a narrow onelane road. Along other stretches between Shirsad and Vasind, no road exists,” said an MMRDA official. Motorists on NH8 have to take a detour via Bhiwandi if they wish to cross over to the Nashik-Agra. The new link will shave off 30 km from an otherwise 73 km long route. Phase-2 involves the construction of a 100 km road connecting Kalyan, which lies at the junction of NH3 and NH222 to Khopoli on the Mumbai-Pune highway. It will also allow easy access to the expressway, which lies parallel to the highway. This road will connect Badlapur, Neral and Karjat up to Khopoli from where motorists can easily access the Mumbai-Goa highway via Pen. “In the absence a link road between Kalyan and Khopoli, traffic flows through the highly congested roads in Mumbra, Kalwa Thane, Shilphata and Belapur,” said an official, adding that the new road will allow for smooth traffic flow to Alibaug and JNPT. MMRDA has proposed a smaller 15 km road between Nallasopara and Nirmal on the west coast. This coastal connectivity is necessary because there is a long stretch along the coast, which does not have a single road connecting the Ahmedabad highway. The second is a 20 km road between Dombivli and Badlapur that will bypass Kalyan. “Once construction work begins, the project can be completed within two years. It is an immediate and cheaper solution to a huge corridor planned between Alibaug and Virar, which will have road, metro and other modes of connection at the cost of Rs 10,000 crore,” said the engineer. Senior official said the proposal has been submitted to the state and that MMRDA has appointed a consultant to carry out a feasibility study. “Tenders will be invited and the project will be executed once we get the feasibility report. We expect to begin with the tendering process in the next couple of months,” said an MMRDA official.