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The Balasaheb Thackeray Samruddhi Mahamarg (expressway) is being constructed between Nagpur and Mumbai is going to be the first highway in India with nine green bridges (overpasses) and 17 underpasses for wild animal movements.

The project is estimated to cost 46,000 crore and will pass through ten districts, namely Nagpur, Wardha, Amravati, Washim, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Nashik and Thane. It will connect Nagpur to Mumbai and have direct connectivity with the country’s largest container port – JNPT. This will enhance EXIM (export-import) trade of the state. Inter-connecting highways and feeder roads would be constructed to connect all important cities and tourist places along this route. This will connect another fourteen districts, namely Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Yavatmal, Akola, Hingoli, Parbhani, Nanded, Beed, Dhule, Jalgaon, Palghar and Raigad. In this manner, a total of twenty-four districts in Maharashtra will be connected via this expressway.

Key features of the Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg:

The expressway will be 701 km long, directly connecting ten districts, twenty-six talukas and around 392 villages. It will have a speed limit of 150 km which will bring Nagpur and Mumbai within 8 hours reach. Thus, travel time from Mumbai to Aurangabad will be 4 hours and from Aurangabad to Nagpur, another 4 hours.

It will connect several industrial areas, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) , the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC), dry ports of Wardha and Jalna and Mumbai’s JNPT.

The expressway, having a total width of 120m with a central median of 22.5m will follow the international standards of design. There will be 8 lanes, 4 on each side. In case there is a need to increase lanes on either side, a provision has been made in the center of the expressway. Thus, no more land will be required for expansion in future.

It will have service roads on both sides that will connect through underpasses.

Extensive landscaping, tunnel lighting, bridge beautification, improved street lighting and digital signage will be used throughout the length of the expressway.

The entry and exit at the expressway will be managed and toll will be charged based on the distance travelled. The toll collection is proposed to be automated.

The expressway will be a Zero Fatality Mahamarg; it will have CCTV surveillance and free telephone booths at every 5 km to allow reporting in case of any accidents and emergencies.

Utility Mahamarg along the expressway will be provided for OFC cables, gas pipelines, electricity lines, etc.

In case of any emergency, natural disaster or in a war-like situation, a facility to land an airplane on the expressway is proposed by temporarily converting the expressway to a runway.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government wants to throw open for traffic phase 1 of the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway from May this year, state Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde said on Tuesday. Phase 1 covers the stretch from Nagpur to Shirdi (in Ahmednagar district).

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