Mumbai: Work on the Mumbai coastal road, a showpiece project of the Shiv Sena-led Mumbai civic body, is “40 per cent through” and the multi-crore freeway is likely to be opened for commuters by the end of 2023, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said.
Chahal told reporters Thursday that the work completed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) includes a kilometre of the country’s first undersea tunnel of 40 diameters.
“Only 900 metres length of the tunnel remains now. This is the first of its kind under-sea tunnel of 40 feet diameter executed in our country.,” Chahal said. “Work is going on 24×7 in three shifts and the project will be completed in November 2023.”
The 10.58-km coastal road, a pet project of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, will be a freeway from Marine Drive in South Mumbai to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli sea link built on reclaimed land.
With the Bandra-Versova sea link project underway — the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is supervising this — the coastal road will provide uninterrupted connectivity from South Mumbai to the congested western suburbs. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 12,721 crore.
The coastal road was originally planned in 2011 as a 29.2-kilometre long south-north stretch from Marine Drive to Kandivali, a far western suburb beyond Versova. The state government is now considering building another sea link from Versova to Virar.
The project will also include green areas of 125 acres on the reclaimed land adjacent to the coastal road and 1,852 underground car parking spaces, Chahal said. As part of the coastal road, the BMC is constructing a total of 27 km of roads, 16 km of which are interchanges.
Initial target for completion was 2022
The BMC started work on the project in October 2018 and had hoped to complete the first phase of the coastal road by 2022.
The project got stalled for nearly six months after the Bombay High Court set aside the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance for the project in July 2019.
The Supreme Court eventually allowed the project to proceed in December 2019. However, by the end of 2020, the BMC had completed only 17 per cent of the construction work due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
First undersea tunnel
A portion of the coastal road will be in the form of 3.4-km long twin tunnels that will partly run under the sea between Girgaum and Malabar Hill — the BMC says the tunnel is touted to be the first of its kind in the country.
The BMC started tunnelling in January this year with a special Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), which the civic body has named ‘Mavala’ after the infantry warriors in Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s army.
According to the BMC, on 4 September, ‘Mavala’, the biggest TBM in the country, completed tunnelling one kilometre of the total 2.07 kilometre tunnel. The BMC has completed 25 per cent of the total tunnelling work as part of the coastal road project, considering there are two such tunnels.
(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)