16.54 hectares of private land, 40.46 hectares within Sanjay Gandhi National Park required for project
Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde has said that land acquisition work has started for the Thane-Borivali tunnel project, which will reduce the travel time between the two suburbs from one hour to 15 minutes.
Mr. Shinde said the detailed project report is ready and the tunnel is expected to be operational in 2028. “We have taken extra care as this tunnel will pass through Sanjay Gandhi National Park. We will be using tunnel boring technology to avoid disrupting the park’s biodiversity,” he said.
The minister said the project did not require environmental clearances. “Our aim is to give world-class infrastructure facilities to Maharashtra. This twin tunnel would connect Thane and Borivali in approximately 15 minutes, providing commuters with significant relief,” he said.
The project to be implemented by MMRDA is estimated to cost ₹11,235.43 crore and will ease the pressure on Ghodbunder Road. The 11.8-kilometre-long dedicated tunnel, including a 10.25-km stretch beneath Sanjay Gandhi National Park, will run from Tikuji-Ni-Wadi in Thane to the Western Express Highway in Borivali.
The twin tunnels of 3+3 lanes each will connect the Western Express Highway (NH3) and Ghodbunder Road (SH-42). The project will require the acquisition of 16.54 hectares of private land and 40.46 hectares of land within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Scheduled to begin in March 2022, the project is expected to take five and a half years to complete. It will have cross tunnels at every 300 metres, and the design will allow vehicles to travel at a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour.
The project is also estimated to reduce consumption of fuel by 10.5 lakh metric tonnes. “The initiative will contribute to a 36% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, thus assisting in the maintenance of environmental balance,” an official familiar with the project said. The tunnels will have a drainage system, smoke detectors and jet fans.
“Special measures will be taken to ensure that the air within the constricted tunnel remains clean and fresh,” the official added. The project is also expected to boost eco-tourism and related development.