The state government is toying with an alternative plan to ease traffic congestion on Peddar road, which is one of the most important North-South traffic links in Mumbai.
The plan consists of two flyovers: one from Lala Lajpatrai College and E Moses Marg, which will have two arms landing on Peddar road and Breach Candy road, and a double-deck north-bound flyover from near Jaslok Hospital to the Lala Lajpatrai College.
The original plan of one of the most delayed projects in Mumbai envisaged a 4.2km flyover from Lala Lajpatrai College near Haji Ali junction to Tambe Chowk near Wilson College. Now, it may be tweaked to put in place local solutions like a one-way loop on Babulnath road and a ramp linking Ridge road to the Kemps Corner flyover.
Apart from easing traffic flow on the arterial road, which links South Mumbai to the suburbs, this changed plan may involve lesser costs and a lower gestation period.
BC Khatua, project director of the state think tank Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU), told dna that building the 4.2km flyover (as per the original plan) was likely to take three years. And in the absence of a coastal road or sea link, it would cause problems on the VIP road. Moreover, the traffic load would be too much for alternative routes — Tardeo road and Breach Candy roads.
Khatua said the empowered committee under the chief secretary was thinking of ways to reduce the hardship on the road. Moreover, the traffic police are not too comfortable with the long gestation period involved in the original plan and underground utilities too may pose a problem.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had earlier called for bids for the flyover's construction, which was opposed by local people. The controversial project was conceived more than 15 years ago but was put on the back burner due to stiff opposition from celebrity residents like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
"We are working on various alternatives," Khatua said. Though suggestions for an underpass between Haji Ali and Gamadia junction had been made, the high gradient of the road and the resultant steep climb would be an issue.
Considering changes in traffic pattern at the Haji Ali junction due to development of mill lands, a flyover from near Mahalaxmi on E Moses road and one from Lala Lajpatrai College merging on the Peddar road are being proposed.
The two arms of these flyovers will converge and later branch out to connect Breach Candy (ending on the road depending on the requirement of the ramps) and Peddar road (landing near Sterling Apartments). This will enable a free left turn for traffic coming to Tardeo from Worli.
The second deck of the flyover will be on the south-north route, beginning from near Doctors House on Peddar road and landing at Lala Lajpatrai College.
The road outside Babulnath Temple is proposed to be converted into a one-way loop, along with the Sukhsagar-Chowpatty stretch. An underpass will be built for pilgrims to access the temple. However, this can be done only after the flyovers are in place.
Khatua said the plan envisaged a small ramp linking Ridge road to the Kemps Corner flyover and cutting and levelling the road underneath to reduce the gradient to prevent conflict in traffic movement and increase the holding capacity. The road may need widening for a slip road from Malabar Hill towards Napean Sea road. He, however, added that further studies on the plan were needed.