India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared a major proposal that will pave the way for widening a narrow two-lane section of Mumbai-Goa highway that runs across Karnala bird sanctuary, media reports said. The ecologically-sensitive project spans a nearly 20-km stretch of the highway and includes a 2-km long bridge over a dense area of the sanctuary, which is located in Panvel taluka in Raigad district of Maharashtra.
The NHAI project is part of the expansion of 84 km of the Mumbai-Goa stretch of NH-17 between Panvel near Mumbai and Indapur near Pune, both in Maharashtra. It will take one-and-a-half years to complete. Apparently, the project was stuck for more than three years due to environment and land acquisition issues. So far only a 25-km stretch has been completed.
The Panvel-Indapur four-lane project is expected to reduce mishaps on the accident-prone national highway. Work on the 84-km stretch is being taken up on PPP basis under NHDP-III and at an estimated cost of Rs. 943 crore. The concessionaire for the project Supreme Panvel Indapur Tollways Pvt. Ltd.
The detailed project report for the balance 350-km stretch from Indapur onwards to Goa border will be put to tender in phases.
Meanwhile, the four-laning of a 21-km Zarap-Patradevi section of in Maharashtra has been completed at a cost of around Rs. 264 crore. The project was developed by Maharashtra PWD.
The Mumbai-Goa stretch of NH-17 has a total length of 475.210 km in Maharashtra and 122 km in Goa. The entire project is likely to be completed in 2014-15. The current estimated cost of project is Rs. 7,100 crore.