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Eastern Freeway is the way to go, says MMRDA

Friday, 10 July 2009 - 1:32am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

It will be ready in two years, whereas the trans-harbour link will take a decade.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is planning to revive one of its most-delayed but ambitious projects, the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), but it may take at least a decade for the project to see the light of the day.

Therefore, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) is rooting for the Eastern Freeway, which, they say, can offer an easier solution for traffic snarls. MMRDA says the freeway project is expected to be completed within the next 24 months.

The Eastern Freeway will be a 22-km high-speed corridor from Prince of Wales Museum right up to Eastern Express Highway through the relatively less-congested roads of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) area.

According to Milind Mhaiskar, additional metropolitan commissioner of the MMRDA, projects such as Eastern Freeway will easily provide a better option to motorists wanting to take a faster route towards eastern suburbs as well as cities such as Pune and Nashik.

At present, motorists coming from island city as well as western suburbs going towards Pune and Nashik take the Sion-Dharavi route, causing traffic snarls.

“I am not criticising the MTHL or questioning its necessity. However, it is also a fact that a project as huge in size as MTHL is going to take a long time to get functional. Looking at the kind of traffic snarls the city is facing, projects such as the Eastern freeway will definitely provide a much-needed relief — that too within the next two years,” Mhaiskar told DNA.

Incidentally, MSRDCs plans so far to construct the MTHL have failed twice. In 2007, it was to be constructed on cash contract basis when Anil Ambani’s Reliance Energy was the lowest bidder. However, this model failed to materialise as MSRDC found the concession period submitted by Reliance to be unrealistic.

Earlier this year, the bridge failed to attract a single bidder when it was to be constructed on a Built-Operate-Transfer basis. Now the corporation is again planning to invite bids with Built-Operate-Transfer model with a possible help from centre, state as well MMRDA for filling the viability gap.

The Eastern Freeway from Prince of Wales Museum to Eastern Express Highway (EEH) is to provide a 22-km high-speed corridor.

This will also provide direct connectivity to new CST Terminus and facilitate transportation of goods to and from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) area.

The freeway starts at the museum, passes along Shahid Bhagatsingh Marg and Wadi Bundar and further enters into MbPT areas and finally joins EEH via Anik Panjarpole Link Road.

This Rs531-crore project is approved under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with 35% financial assistance from the Government of India. State government and MMRDA shares are 15% and 50%, respectively.

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