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Mumbai-Goa four-laning to be complete in 2 years: Gadkari

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The much-awaited four-laning of the Mumbai-Goa highway project would be completed by 2024, said Union Minister Nitin Gadkari at an event in Goa on Monday.

Work on widening of the Mumbai-Goa highway which is also called NH-66 has been going on for more than a decade.

In September, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) assured the Bombay High Court of completing the four-laning work by March 2022, well before its earlier set deadline of December 2022. However, with Gadkari providing a longer time frame, the drive to Goa from Mumbai will take a bit longer.

Speaking at the inauguration and foundation stone laying of six national highway projects in Goa, Gadkari said, “There has been a delay in completing the project because of delay in getting forest clearances, there has been a delay in land acquisition because we found 10-12 owners of a single piece of land. But let me assure you that from today, within two years the full stretch of the highway between Mumbai to Goa to the Karnataka border will be ready.”

Following a public interest litigation (PIL), the Bombay High Court directed the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Government in September to refrain from taking up any other road infrastructure project within the State before completing the four-laning of NH-66. The Mumbai-Goa highway will be one of the first national highways in Maharashtra to be fully concrete. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway (not a national highway) was the earliest in the State to be fully concrete.

Accidents

Last year the court was informed about the nearly 2,500 deaths that occurred on NH-66 in motor accidents since the beginning of 2010 when the road widening project began. During the last ten years the highway has seen accidents due to numerous potholes, poor planning of the construction process and traffic management, sudden traffic diversions and lack of speed limits.

“There was a lot of work which was awarded before I became Minister in which there were a lot of issues. Cases were filed, some contractors went to NCLT, some contracts were terminated. We terminated work on the first section of Panvel to Indapur, following which the State Bank of India and the contractor moved court against us. About 80 per cent work on that stretch has been completed and in another 3-4 months the full stretch of that phase will be ready,” Gadkari added.



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