Mumbai-Goa route may be transformed into ‘seaside’ highway ala California
The government is mulling over the possibility of beautifying the surroundings of Mumbai-Goa national highway along the seacoast on the lines of the picturesque road linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said during his visit to the US two months ago, he travelled by road from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific ocean, and for the first time saw how roadsides can be beautified.
Gadkari said that the Centre is in the process of promoting road-side amenities, including hotels and motels.
“We have to think if we can use the nature’s beauty and further beautify (the road-side stretch)”, he said.
The Minister said he has asked the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to prepare a detailed project report on whether the Mumbai-Goa road can be developed on the lines of Los Angeles-San Francisco road.
“So, the process is on. People should enjoy their ride travelling by road,” he said, inaugurating the 77th annual session of the Indian Roads Congress.
Gadkari added 35,000 kms of roads would be upgraded as national highways soon.
When he took over as Minister, 403 road projects valued at Rs. 3.75 lakh crore had been stalled because of issues related to land acquisition, and environment and forest clearances. “95 per cent of those projects no longer face such problems”, the Minister said.
The minister also said 1300 spots have been identified in the country for providing road-side amenities like hotels, motels, petrol pumps and helipads, which would offer huge employment opportunities for locals.
70 tenders have already been floated in this regard.
Government also plans to come out with a mechanism by which engineering graduates, particularly diploma-holders and those from polytechnics, get jobs in the area of bridge maintenance and other minor works so that they also become contractors, he added.