Soon, Mumbai residents will be able to travel between Borivli and Thane in 10 minutes owing to an 11-km underground tunnel passing through the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). The state wildlife board recently gave the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) permission to carry out an on-ground survey at the national park.
This development assumes significance as the Rs2,000 crore project requires several envi-ronment clearances. Environmentalists have opposed the project, saying would affect the ecological balance of the area.
“We got permission for a topographic survey, which our consultants have started. After we receive a few other permissions, we will start our geo-technical survey to study the strata. Following this, we will prepare a detailed project report ,” said a senior MSRDC official.
Proposed in August 2015, the six-lane tunnel will connect Tikuji-ni-Wadi in Thane and Ekta Nagar on the Western Express Highway in Borivli. Currently, the 23-km distance between Thane and Borivli — via Ghodbunder Road — takes almost an hour or even more, if there is a traffic jam. Around 70,000 cars travel across Ghodbunder Road daily.
Thane and Borivli are separated by a chain of hills, most of which are part of SGNP. Signifi-cantly, SGNP’s reserved forest is under threat owing to encroachments. In March last year, the high court ordered the demolition of these encroachments.
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