Samruddhi Expressway: A Safe Passage for Wildlife Amidst Smooth Travel
By Lokmat English Desk | Published: February 13, 2024 08:36 AM2024-02-13T08:36:20+5:302024-02-13T08:36:45+5:30
The Samruddhi Expressway is witnessing not only the smooth travel of motorists but also a safe passage for wildlife, ...
The Samruddhi Expressway is witnessing not only the smooth travel of motorists but also a safe passage for wildlife, overcoming initial challenges of animal-vehicle collisions on the 701 km super expressway. Animals, including nilgai, chinkara, wild pig, Indian hare, Indian crested porcupine, mongoose, leopard, and gray langurs, have adapted to the newly constructed paths either below or over the super-communication highway.
During the first month of the monitoring exercise by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), video footage captured these animals utilizing the dedicated wildlife underpasses and overpasses. The study aims to provide valuable scientific data on wildlife utilization of these structures and assess the effectiveness of wildlife mitigation measures along the expressway, which runs tangent to various forest reserves.
The Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway, also known as the Samruddhi Expressway, is a crucial infrastructure project linking Maharashtra's economic and agricultural hubs. Spanning 701 km, it traverses three distinct habitat types, namely dry deciduous forests, grasslands, and the Western Ghats. Despite not intersecting any protected area, the expressway passes through tiger corridors and important habitats for species such as the Great Indian Bustard, Indian wolf, blackbuck, and chinkara.
To address potential impacts on wildlife, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) incorporated wildlife-friendly measures early in the planning and construction stages. A collaborative study by WII identified wildlife focus areas and recommended site-specific mitigation measures. A total of 1797 mitigation structures, including wildlife underpasses, overpasses, and tunnels, were constructed on sensitive stretches of the expressway.
MSRDC Managing Director Anil Gaikwad expressed satisfaction with the collaboration with WII during the planning stage and ongoing monitoring for the next five years. Dr. Bilal Habib, leading the study, highlighted the positive indication of wildlife acceptance of mitigation measures, specifically mentioning Chinkara, Leopard, and Porcupine using the overpasses.
Maharashtra's Chief Wildlife Warden, Maheep Gupta, commended the encouraging initial results and anticipated further insights as the study progresses. Virendra Tiwari, Director of Wildlife Institute of India, emphasized the importance of integrating conservation concerns into the development narrative at the planning stage.
Concurrently, the team is conducting a bird count along the expressway, collecting data from 310 points at 500-meter intervals. This systematic approach aims to assess avian diversity and distribution. Additionally, future monitoring will include light intensity and sound along the highway, as stated in a WII release.Open in app