India's longest road tunnel project in Mumbai to enter construction phase in March 2022

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is responsible for the establishment of the upcoming facility.

In a bid to amplify connectivity between two major locations in the country's Financial Capital, the construction of India's longest road twin-tunnel between Thane and Borivali, will start in March 2022. The Maharashtra PWD Minister made an announcement in this regard on Thursday, which mentioned that the works on the 11.8-km-long tunnel, below the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, will commence next year. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is responsible for this upcoming project.

Project to be completed within 66 months

Earlier, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation was designated to look after this project but the MMRDA took over it later. Now, it has been stated that the authority will start digging for the 10.25 km double-tunnel and 1.55 km junction, in the first phase. It is expected that a cost of Rs. 11,235 crore will be borne for the slated establishment. Speeding up the plans, the detailed project report has been filed already and the land acquisition work has also begun.

As per the statements of the state PWD Minister, it is anticipated that the project will be finished within 66 months. Once the new route is commissioned, it shall connect Borivali on the Western Express Highway to Thane. In addition to this, the traffic problems on the Ghodbunder Road would also be resolved.

6-lane facility to reduce the time considerably

According to the available information, the twin-tunnel would comprise of 6 lanes, with 3 in each direction. Reducing the travel time between the endpoints from an hour to 15 minutes, the tunnel would aid vehicular movements at a speed of 80 kmph.

An official informed that the inter-district tunnel would stretch over a vast expanse, having 16.54 hectares of private and 40.46 hectares of SGNP lands. While the route between Borivali WEH at the Mumbai end and Tikuji-ni-Wadi junction on the Thane side extends over a length of 25 km currently, the new development shall aid in easier and smoother connectivity.

The facility will be equipped with cross-tunnels every 300 metres, drainage systems, a smoke detector and a jet fan, to keep the air clean and fresh. It is expected that the tunnel will help in fuel savings of over a million lakh tonnes and the minister also affirmed that the emissions will be cut by 36% with it.

Specific measures being undertaken to protect the SGNP lands

Given the fact that the twin-tunnel will be established below the naturally rich SGNP, the authorities are making sure to deploy special measures so that the ecosystem here is not disturbed. The beautiful area provides a habitat for leopards, spotted deer, sambar, civets, different types of monkeys, Indian flying fox, pythons and other snakes, big and small reptiles including crocodiles, birds, insects, thousands of plant species, etc.

Spread across 87 square kilometres, SGNP used to attract nearly 2 million people every year, before the pandemic happened. Further, in a bid to protect its environment, the authorities will use Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), similar to those deployed in the Mumbai Metro projects.

- With inputs from IANS

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