The Samruddhi Mahamarg in Maharashtra, a 502 km stretch between Nagpur and Shirdi, will be opened for the public in the coming three months. The 701 km-long and 120-m broad high-speed corridor is designed for a top speed of 150 km per hour. The project that cut across 10 districts of Maharashtra was conceptualized in the year 2015 and the construction work had begun in January 2019. According to an IE report, the new highway begins in a small village, Shivmadka in Hingna tehsil of Nagpur. Located at a distance of 23 km away from Nagpur, it currently serves as the outer bypass to the city. Following are the features of the country’s ‘fastest’ highway:
- For the first time in Maharashtra, a single-layer concrete paver has been utilized for the whole 15 metre width of the concrete slabs on either side of the road.
- The highway cuts across three wildlife sanctuaries as well as 35 wildlife focus areas. Thus, special wildlife mitigation measures like undercrossing, overpasses, high box culverts are being developed to facilitate the movement of animals to avoid roadkills.
- Besides several scenic landscapes that travellers will pass through on this highway, is also a bridge being constructed on river Wardha. The highway, around 89 km from the starting point, passes through this river on which a 310 metre long high bridge is being constructed.
- The alignment has 33 major bridges and 274 minor bridges in total.
- The highway has been modelled on the lines of a pedestrian bridge in New York and has a motorable bow string bridge located at the district of Wardha. The bow string will be of 80 meters length, while the bridge is 120 metres long itself, Bhushan Malkhandale, Executive Engineer, MSRDC was quoted saying in the report.
- At several locations, contractors have had to cut through hillocks, since a large part of the highway passes through hilly terrain.
- Also, as many as 65 viaducts or flyovers are being built along the highway.
- A total of six tunnels are also being constructed on the highway, mainly through ecologically sensitive North-Western Ghats. The longest tunnel of Maharashtra will also come up along the route at Kasara Ghat, Igatpuri.
- According to Hemant Jagtap, MSRDC Executive Engineer (Nodal), the tunnels have been designed for a life of 100 years. They are being built by using modern-day technique of ‘New Australian Tunnelling Method’, also known as ‘design as you go’. This technology stabilises the tunnel wherever possible rather than reinforcing the overall tunnel.