More lanes for Mumbai - Pune expressway & highway
The state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will be adding two more lanes to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the old Mumbai-Pune Highway in order to make travel between Mumbai and Pune faster. PWD (Public Works Department, Undertakings) Minister Jaidutt Kshirsagar said, “We want to make travel between Mumbai and Pune quicker. At Monday’s board meeting, we have decided to have two more lanes added to the earlier four lanes on the old Mumbai Pune Highway and two more to the earlier six lanes on the Yeshwantrao Chavan Mumbai-Pune Expressway. This will let vehicles speed and yet reduce the number of accidents.” Apart from this, MSRDC is also planning a tunnel from Khopoli to the Sinhagad Educational Institute beyond Lonavala cutting across the ghats. However, due to objections from the Ministry of Environnment and Forests, MSRDC has not yet been able to construct an alternative road in the ghats. In fact, it had to widen the existing road in the Lonavala ghat. Instead, the MSRDC is planning an 11 km long tunnel. This is being designed keeping in mind the amount of traffic that might exist in the year 2025. The MSRDC is planning to execute the project on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis, which is a type of arrangement in which the private sector builds an infrastructure project, operates it and eventually transfers ownership of the project to the government. But, according to some insiders in the MSRDC, this proposal might have been taken up in order to benefit a particular company or a favoured contractor of MSRDC.