Maharashtra government issued a resolution on Saturday renaming the Mumbai-Nagpur super communication expressway after Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray. Following a decision taken on this by the Cabinet on December 11, the notification said the expressway, scheduled to be completed in 2021, will now be called Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg.
Nawab Malik, Mumbai unit president of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition, said, “We have no objection to the decision taken by the government to change the name of the highway.”
The 700-kilometre long expressway will connect 24 nodes, which will be developed as smart cities in future. The expressway, approximately costing ₹45,000 crore, will pass through 10 districts, and influence development in 14 others.
The expressway will cut down travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur to less than nine hours. With motorists expected to pay over ₹1,200 as tolls for a one-way journey, it will be the most expensive roads to ride on in the country.
“The cabinet is of the unanimous view that the Mumbai-Nagpur highway be now called Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg,” said senior cabinet minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde.
The Public Works Department (PWD) has already completed acquisition of about 20,800 hectares starting from Thane, and is likely to use 10,000 hectares for building townships to recover some cost.
The expressway will have 33 major bridges, 294 minor bridges, eight rail overbridges, 63 flyovers and 25 interchanges. There will be an underpass at every 7 km and an overpass at every 10 km. Three lanes on each side will allow motorists to clock speeds up to 150 km/hr on flat terrain and 120 km/hr on hilly terrain. A wayside amenity will be set up every 40 km, said officials of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the nodal agency for the project.
The MSRDC is seeking ₹28,000 crore as loan from banks, while the State government is helping out with the land acquisition process.