Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the work on the Mumbai-Goa highway will be completed by December this year, which would give a huge boost to development in Maharashtra's Konkan region.
He was speaking at the 'bhoomi pujan' ceremony in Panvel of the concretisation of the Palaspe-Indupur national highway stretch and some other routes.
The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways several works in the state's Konkan region were held up due to issues like land acquisition, permissions, contractor problems.
He also announced the construction of the Rs 13,000 crore Morbe-Karanjade road, which will go through Jawaharlal Nehru Port and reduce the time needed to cover the distance between Mumbai and Delhi to 12 hours.
Work on the Rs 1,200 crore Kalamboli junction and Rs 1,2000 Pagode junction too will begin soon, he said.
He said the much-delayed Mumbai-Goa national highway work will be completed by December this year, which will hugely boost development prospects of the Konkan area.
"The Mumbai-Goa highway touches 66 tourism spots in Maharashtra's Konkan. It will give development a high boost. It will also ensure quick transportation of fruits and other produce the region is famous for," Gadkari said.
He blamed the contractors who were given two stretches for construction in 2011 for the delay. The highway is being built and widened in 11 phases.
"However, all matters are resolved now and the highway, which also connects JNPT and Dighi port, will help in the progress of the country," Gadkari said.
He also asked state governments to go in for roads with 6-8 inch topping so that they have a life of 50 years, as well as periodic updating of black spots for proactive rectification.
"India sees 5 lakh road accidents a year, of which 1.5 lakh are fatal, with many of those dead in the 18-34 age group. This is distressing. All efforts must be taken to curb accidents," he said.
Gadkari also said his ministry was in the process of introducing satellite-based fare collection on highways instead of having toll nakas that obstruct free flow of traffic.
Maharashtra must study the feasibility of seaplane, hovercraft and water taxi systems for the Konkan region, which is blessed with a long coastline, for tourism and transport purposes, the Union minister said.