Samruddhi Mahamarg opening put off again due to accident


An under-construction arch at wildlife pass collapsed near Nagpur which left one laborer dead

Nagpur: The much-awaited Samruddhi Mahamarg inauguration has hit another roadblock as an under-construction arch at wildlife pass collapsed in the wee hours of Sunday in which a laborer was killed.

The laborer working on Package-I of Samruddhi Mahamarg died in a mishap at a construction site at village Waifal in Hingna Tehsil resulting in the postponement of the inauguration of the Expressway. An under-construction arch, part of a wildlife overpass, collapsed around 3 am on Sunday.

In view of the development, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) was forced to postpone the opening of the first phase of the Expressway. As per the plan, Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg was supposed to be opened on May 2 but the new development threw a spanner in the grand preparations lined up for the mega event.

The 700-km-long Expressway between Nagpur and Mumbai has a total of eight wildlife overpasses and 22 wildlife underpasses. The Expressway passes via Bor Tiger Reserve and several other environmentally sensitive zones. The accident took place 15-km from the starting point at Nagpur.

An MSRDC official said, “The rectification of the damage will now take around 45 days and is expected to be over by the end of June. Hence, we are now planning to open the first and second phases together by August. This essentially means the Nagpur to Shirdi stretch will open by August.”

Previously the opening of the expressway was delayed due to pandemic induced lockdown leading to not sufficient manpower to finish the work by the target deadline. Now the 210 km stretch between Nagpur and Shelu Bazaar, Washim which was part of Phase 1 comprises 520 km of a total 700 km long Samruddhi Mahamarg is scheduled to be opened to the traffic from May 2 again affected.

While the laborer hailing from Bihar died, two others were reportedly injured. MSRDC officials, however, did not disclose the reason for the collapse of the concrete structure.

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