Days ahead of the inauguration of Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway by PM Narendra Modi on December 11, 2022, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took a test drive on the newly constructed road on Monday.
The construction of the road had started when Fadnavis was the chief minister during the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition. It has been officially named as Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, while also being known as Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway.
Notably, the phase -1 of the project was to be inaugurated earlier this year but had to be delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
As per the government, the 701-km-long stretch of highway will help in the development of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. Both these regions are drought-hit areas. While the expressway is ready for 520 km, the remaining 181 km stretch of highway will be ready by 2024. It will connect Shirdi and Mumbai and will end in Bhiwandi district.
Also, with expressway to be used by commercial vehicles moving towards Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) from Nagpur, the government is also looking to revamp the 3.5-km long Mumbai-Nashik highway (NH 3) between Vadpe and Majiwada areas of Thane.
Once opened the expressway is also expected to promote tourism in the state as it will connect Shirdi, Lonar Lake, Verul, Ajanta, Aurangabad, Ellora,Jyotirlingas of Trimbakeshwar, Ghrushneshwar, Panchvati and Hill station at Igatpuri.
It will reduce the travel time from Nagpur to Mumbai by nearly six hours. Currently, the travel time between Mumbai-Dhule (NH3) and Dhule-Nagpur (NH 6) is close to 16 hours.
The eight-lane Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway is being built by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation at the estimated cost of Rs 55,000 crore. This highway is also being touted as the fastest in the country, where vehicles can drive at a speed of 150 kmph.
This expressway route will pass through 14 districts, six talukas and 392 villages of the state.