After the commissioning of Phase 1 of the 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg (Nagpur Expressway) on December 11, the Maharashtra government has turned its focus on the long-delayed Alibaug-Virar Multi Modal Corridor.
The implementing authority for the project, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), is in talks with lenders including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a corporation official said. The state Cabinet last month gave in-principle approval to seek loans from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and other lenders.
The MSRDC hopes to secure funding, issue tenders, give work orders, and begin work on the ground next year.
The Multi Modal corridor is a high speed expressway connecting Alibaug in Raigad district to Virar in Palghar district. The 127 km long road will traverse in three districts of Raigad, Thane and Palghar which abut Mumbai and are part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The reason for building this completelty green field road was to augment connectivity to proposed growth centres like Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran which are located in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in an attempt to take the load of Mumbai city.
The entirely green field road project was also planned with a view to divert the heavy flow of cargo that exits from the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and gets stuck in the internal roads of cities like Thane and Navi Mumbai. The Multi Modal corridor would also be connected to major national highways to ensure better connectivity for flow of goods to various parts of the country.
The 127-km Multi Modal Corridor from Alibaug to Virar will connect National Highway (NH)-8, Bhiwandi Bypass, NH-3, NH-4 and NH-4B, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and NH-17. Alignment-1 comprises a 98-km stretch of the corridor from Navghar to Balavali; Alignment-2 is 29 km long, connecting Balavali to Alibaug.
Costs and Delay
The Multi Modal Corridor was conceptualised a decade ago and approved in 2012, but work never began on the ground. The delay has resulted in cost estimates increasing four times over the 2012 estimates. As of now, the project cost is estimated at Rs 55,564 crore (compared to the Rs 12,554 crore estimated in 2012), making the Multi Modal Corridor almost as expensive as the Samruddhi Mahamarg.
The MSRDC official said the rising cost of land in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region has pushed up the cost of the project. Almost Rs 21,000 crore will be needed to acquire 1,347.22 hectares of land that is mostly owned by private parties in the three districts of Palghar, Thane, and Raigad — up from just Rs 2,215 crore in 2012.