Mumbai, India (Urban Transport News): In a move to tackle the persistent traffic snarls between Thane and Borivali, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has made significant headway with its proposed Twin Tube Tunnel road project. This ambitious initiative aims to carve a direct link between the two bustling districts, promising to slash travel time by a substantial margin.
With the spotlight fixed firmly on the project's progress, the recent acquisition of the State Wildlife Board's approval comes as a pivotal milestone. The 22nd meeting of the State Board for Wildlife, overseen by Maharashtra's Honorable Chief Minister, Mr. Eknath Shinde, marked the much-anticipated green signal for the Twin Tube Project. This crucial step now paves the way for the undertaking to navigate the subsequent regulatory clearances smoothly.
Outlined as a two-lane highway tunnel road, the Twin Tube Tunnel Road will establish a crucial artery between Thane and Borivali, coursing beneath the verdant expanse of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The comprehensive plan entails the construction of two separate tunnel roads, each accommodating two lanes along with an additional emergency lane. Anticipated to span a length of 10.25 kilometers, with an additional 1.55 kilometers designated for the approach road, the project's twin tunnels will boast a collective span of 11.8 kilometers, with a diameter of 13.05 meters.
Integral to ensuring the safety and convenience of commuters, the tunnel infrastructure will be fortified with a dedicated ventilation system, punctuated by cross passages at every 300-meter interval. Further provisions, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, LED lights, and strategically positioned signboards, are earmarked to enhance the safety protocols within the tunnel's precincts.
Seamlessly operationalizing this vast project, the initiative is strategically compartmentalized into two civil packages and an additional Intelligent Transport System (ITS) package. Notably, civil packages 1 and 2 have already been awarded to the esteemed "M/S. Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Ltd." following a comprehensive tender process that concluded on May 8, 2023. With an estimated outlay of approximately 16,600 crores, covering land acquisition costs, the envisaged timeline involves the deployment of four Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) to oversee the construction, projected to culminate within a five-year timeline.
The project's scope encompasses the requisition of nearly 46.57 hectares of land, with a significant portion of 35.54 hectares nestled within the verdant confines of Maharashtra's protected forest area. Consequently, obtaining the vital wildlife clearance stands testament to the project's unwavering commitment to upholding stringent environmental protocols.
Voicing his enthusiasm, Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, reiterated the MMRDA's resolute dedication to bolstering regional infrastructure. He emphasized, "At the heart of every initiative lies our unwavering commitment to enhance the fabric of life within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The Twin Tube tunnel road embodies our dedication to bolstering connectivity, and the recent acquisition of wildlife clearance marks a pivotal juncture in our journey towards materializing this transformative project."
Foreseeing a multitude of advantages for the state's populace, the Twin Tube Tunnel Road vows to revolutionize the daily commute between Thane and Borivali, expediting travel times by up to an hour. Beyond the apparent time-saving benefits, the project will bridge the gap between Thane Ghodbander Road and the Western Express Highway, fostering seamless connectivity between the two districts.