The Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway is delayed until 2022 due to Covid-19. In the meantime, a machine with remarkable operational reliability was specially flown in from the supplier in Germany to help speed up the project.
The Expressway, also known as the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is eagerly awaited. Eight lanes over 701 km would connect the two metropolises of Mumbai and Nagpur. The travel time would be reduced from about 18 hours to only 8 hours: travellers would effectively save a whole day.
Mumbai is considered the most important port city on the sub-continent. Nagpur is not only the geographical centre of India, but also a major industrial location. The Expressway is expected to have a huge positive impact on the economic growth of the entire western India.
3500 m3 of concrete
Planning for the ambitious project started in 2016, but the project was beset by delays. The global pandemic further aggravated the situation. Now, it is expected to open to traffic in May 2022.
To ensure that this timeline is achieved, reins have been tightened in many places. The overall project is divided into 16 sections, three of which are planned with tunnels. Tunnelling is crucial because this is where delays generally occur due to technical and geological imponderables.
98% operational availability
A special shotcreting machine - the IS26 - was ordered from German manufacturer GHH for this demanding sub-discipline. It was used on the 520-km long main section between Nagpur and Shirdi to apply shotcrete to the tunnel walls.
Investment in this machine paid off because unlike other heavy construction equipment, the IS26 from GHH has an availability rate of over 98%, calculated over a period of more than half a year.
Small footprint, big impact
The IS26 is extremely compact and can optimally line hard-to-reach places on the tunnel wall with concrete. For this purpose, it has an articulated arm instead of a rigid boom as with other makes. This is an important argument for safety (later on) in the finished tunnel.
The boom allows a spraying range of up to 15 m vertically and 10.5 m horizontally. The spray head can rotate 360 degrees. The machine was built for tunnel cross-sections from 16 to 130 m2. It is all-wheel drive, equipped with four-wheel steering and has a ROPS & FOPS Level II certified cabin with a high level of safety reserve for the driver. The driver’s job is easy because he/she can not only turn the seat 180 degrees, but also control the machine remotely.
It is hoped that the German machine along with Indian passion will get the job done and the project’s completion will not be delayed any further. In fact, there are no difficulties foreseen for further operations of the GHH machine.
Right from the beginning, the manufacturer was very cooperative and supportive with ready replies to any queries and was quick in supplying spare parts to the site. GHH is totally committed towards the project’s completion and is ready to be present when the line is put into operation.