Tiger bridge
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India’s ‘fastest’ highway crosses tiger reserve – wildlife passes are a blister for the bleeding

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The zero mile: In three months from now, Maharashtra’s Samruddhi Mahamarg–a stretch of 502 km between Nagpur and Shirdi – will be opened for public. Conceptualized in 2015, the 701 km-long and 120-m broad high-speed corridor is designed for a top speed of 150 kmph. Construction work for the project that cut across 10 districts of Maharashtra had begun in January 2019. The new highway begins in a small village, Shivmadka in Nagpur’s Hingna tehsil. Situated 23 kilometers away from Nagpur city, it currently serves as the outer bypass to the city.

A bridge for the wild: Since the highway cuts across three wildlife sanctuaries and 35 wildlife focus areas, special wildlife mitigation measures such as overpasses, undercrossing, high box culverts are being built to facilitate animal movement in order to avoid roadkills. The photograph is of a 300-m viaduct being built in Wardha district, 23.350 km from the starting point, in the middle of a functional tiger corridor between the Bor Tiger Reserve and the Umred-Karandhla Wildlife Sanctuary.

This article was published by The Indian Express on February 17, 2021.