The Bhatan Tunnel is the first tunnel which one crosses on Mumbai-Pune Expressway when driving from Mumbai. The two-tube Tunnel, which is named after the village Bhatan pada located nearby is 1.053 km long on Mumbai to Pune side and 1.088 long on Pune to Mumbai side. The areas located near the tunnel are Neral, Badlapur, and Khopoli.
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway & the Bhatan Tunnel
The Bhatan Tunnel is one of the six tunnels that one crosses while on a journey on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. It was constructed when the expressway was built to ease traffic and decrease travel time between the two cities. The Expressway is an important connection between the financial capital of India – Mumbai and Pune, also known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra.
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is India’s first modern six-lane tolled Expressway for high-speed and access control. Travel time on the 94.5 kms Expressway between Mumbai and Pune is within three hours. The Expressway and the Bhatan Tunnel were opened for vehicular traffic in 2002.
Earlier, the quickest way to travel to Pune from Mumbai or vice-versa was to take the railway route. There used to be a lot of traffic on the old highway between the two cities. The highway was also quit ane accident prone especially in monsoons due to the Sahyadri mountain region. It used to take commuters almost 7 to 8 hours to drive on the highway to reach either destination. As per a study, almost 400 persons per year were killed in accidents on the old Mumbai-Pune Highway. Hence, it was important to build an alternate route for the benefit for people of Maharashtra.
Construction of the Expressway and the Bhatan Tunnel
In 1990, the Government of Maharashtra ordered a feasibility study to build the expressway and in 1997 the work was given to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The actual work started in 1999 and the expressway was built at an estimated cost of Rs 1630 crores. The work to build the tunnels including the Bhatan Tunnel was given to the Konkan Railway Corporation. The construction of the tunnel involved large number of workforce and dedicated team of engineers. The excavation process of the tunnel was completed through rock bolting process, drilling and grouting tasks. The efficient team of Konkan Railway, which had built 91 tunnels on the rail route, completed the work on the Bhatan Tunnel in record time in each direction. The Bhatan Tunnel has been equipped with modern facilities for ventilation, lighting and firefighting equipment.
The significance of the Expressway and the Bhatan Tunnel
The construction of the Bhatan Tunnel was an important part of the entire Expressway. It is the first tunnel from Mumbai side and located near the village of Bhatan Pada, it has opened up possibilities for people of Maharashtra. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway has tremendously helped the businesses existing in both the cities especially the IT sector. Also, the speed limit of 80 km per hour for private cars introduced in 2009 has decreased the number of accidents significantly. The Bhatan Tunnel is like a gateway to enter the picturesque route of the hill stations of Lonavala-Khandala. The Expressway has increased social and cultural exchanges between the two cities and boasted tourism in the small hill station town of Lonavala.
How to travel through the Bhatan Tunnel
The Bhatan Tunnel is the first tunnel to come if you are driving from Mumbai to Lonavala or to Pune. And from Pune side, it will be the last tunnel before entering Mumbai. So if you want to enjoy passing through the tunnels on the Expressway including the Bhatan Tunnel, then go for a long drive if you are in Mumbai or Pune. You will enjoy the scenic beauty of the Sahyadri mountains on the route and pass through the long tunnels.