How The New Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway Is Helping Wildlife

How The New Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway Is Helping Wildlife
(L) The Indian Express ; India Times (R)

If you live in India, it is likely that you have witnessed an unfortunate accident on the road involving a helpless stray animal – the sight itself is overwhelming. The Times of India reports that in 2020-21, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) recorded 3,442 stray animals that were injured in road accidents. The number, however, may be higher since not everyone involved in such incidents reports it to them.

The Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway, Samruddhi Mahamarg, which is projected to be India’s fastest highway will be built with the inclusion of five ‘wildlife bridges’ and a network of underpasses. It is to place focus on co-existence with wildlife, rather than putting them, as well as those driving on the expressway in danger.

This is a high-speed corridor that may cut across wildlife habitats, leading to changes in their movements and behaviour. Keeping this in mind, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) planned a safe solution.

“The idea is to give native animals a way to get across the road without endangering themselves. The good thing about this highway is that it is the first one where wildlife mitigation has been considered as it does not cut across any of the protected areas of a forest. We wanted to set an example.”  

— Dr Bilal, WII Scientist

Since the expressway cuts across several sanctuaries and wildlife focus areas, these underpasses and overpasses are integral to maintaining safety. It is set to reach completion in February 2022.

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