Mumbai: To save wildlife, Thane h’way could be raised in two places | Bombay News

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Thane: It’s a plan to protect wildlife while modernizing urban infrastructure. Two sections of a national arterial highway in Thane should be raised to prevent wildlife from being run over on Ghodbunder Road while still allowing free passage for vehicles on the section. Wildlife, especially leopards, are known to frequent the stretch that runs along the eastern fringe of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, officials said.
The state road agency, MSRDC, plans to elevate the existing Ghodbunder Road on two stretches – between Gaimukh and Fountain Hotel – and have underpasses on both stretches. The busy road will align with a nearby proposed highway. Ghodbunder Road connects Thane to the western suburbs of Mumbai, Borivli.
The modifications that would need to be made to the proposed highway could then further increase its initial cost. Currently, the estimated cost of building the highway is Rs 1,200 crore, senior MSRDC officials have said.
Experts said the stretch of Ghodbunder Road that lies beyond the town of Thane, especially near Chena Creek and beyond, is frequented by feral cats in search of watering holes. While local forestry officials have said there have been no victims of wildlife here in the recent past, experts said there is a need to elevate the road, as the state has lost 67 leopards in road accidents between January of last year and last May.
The question of the construction of the passage was discussed recently at a meeting where the need to raise the road to avoid human-wildlife conflicts arose. A group of experts from the state’s wildlife department are now likely to investigate the Ghodbunder route to recommend the sites to the MSRDC, officials said.
An official present at the meeting said the plan was for the existing four-lane Ghodbunder road to be raised in two places and aligned with the proposed 4.6 km highway through ramps. The section under the raised section could then be left untouched so that wildlife can roam freely below.
“While one of the stretches near the Fountain Hotel has already been identified, the other near the end of Gaimukh will be identified by a team of experts from the National Wildlife Council, after which the MSRDC will revise the drawing plan of the elevated road, ”an official said. . “The idea is to ensure that wildlife, especially leopards, have the right of way and do not interfere with heavy traffic on the stretch.”
Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare, who was part of the meeting, said he had been pushing for swift implementation of the elevated road which will not only help wildlife but also benefit motorists. “The project has dragged on for several years. I have asked the Department of Wildlife and the MSRDC to speed up investigations and ensure that the highway is built quickly, ”he said.

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