A Bridge Not Too Far
India Legal|March 8, 2021
For the first time in India, wildlife bridges and underpasses on the Expressway will help animals navigate sanctuaries safely. The judiciary too has played a major role in protecting animal rights

OFTEN on routes connected to forests, vehicles drive slowly to avoid collision with wild animals. But now a high-speed highway is being built— Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway—where vehicles can travel at 150 km per hour without harming the animals. It will have five “wildlife bridges” and a network of underpasses which can be used by the animals.

The highway is about 701 km long and 120 m wide, and some parts of it will open to the public in May this year. It will also cut through three sanctuaries—Tansa (Thane), Katepurna (AkolaWashim border) and Karanja Sohol (Washim). Apart from this, there will be 35 wildlife focus areas, of which 16 will be in Vidarbha, 16 in the North-Western Ghats and three in Marathwada. It will cover about 118 km. Special wildlife mitigation measures such as overpasses, under crossings and high box culverts, are being built to facilitate animal movement to avoid roadkills.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) said in a report: “Fragmentation of such patches can lead to destruction of habitat, and also affect the animal density and movement.” The wildlife bridge will also be covered with native flora to make it look as natural as possible.

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