The country’s first multi-lane, access-controlled expressway will soon get a major upgrade that will reduce travel time by 25 minutes from the roughly two and a half hours it currently requires to complete the 95-kilometre journey.
The six-lane Mumbai-Pune expressway, which was made fully operational nearly two decades ago, will see the six km-long Khandala Ghat section completely bypassed by a massive tunnel and bridge section that’s currently under construction. Called the ‘Missing Link’, the entire bypass was scheduled for completion by mid-2023, but the pandemic pushed back the deadline by about six months.
However, in what is certainly good news, the pace of construction has picked up and the project should be back on track. Speaking at the recently held Autocar India Mercedes Benz Classic Car Rally, Maharashtra’s Urban Development and Public Works minister Eknath Shinde said, “There have been COVID delays of about six months, but [the pace of] work has picked up and the projects like the Missing Link, Mumbai-Nagpur expressway as well as the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link will start on time.”
The “Missing Link” project on the Mumbai-Pune expressway consists of two tunnels, two viaducts, four bridges and a few more culverts, and is being built at a cost of around Rs 2,000 crore. It will be between Khopoli and Kusgaon and bypass two districts, two talukas and eight villages. In addition to bypassing the Ghat and reducing travel time, it will save fuel, reduce emissions and will also lower accidents along the stretch, which will only help the expressway achieve its zero fatality target.
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