The Mumbai coastal road project is likely to be put on the fast track and actual work on the ambitious Rs8,000 crore connector could begin by December next year.
The 35 km road, which will run from Nariman Point to Kandivli, should ease the traffic congestion in western Mumbai. The project has various components that would involve construction of stilts on mangrove patches and reclamation of land.
Since the project is within the coastal zone, it would require environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and this would be the biggest issue.
So the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is figuring out where this clearance would not be required, so it can start work in these parts. For example, work could begin on the construction of a tunnel between the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and Air India building.
The BMC is in the process of scrutinizing applications from private consultants who are to be appointed to carry out various works, including procuring clearances from the MoEF, submitting a detailed project report (DPR) and suggesting cost-effective ways to execute the project. The civic body has put a condition that clearances must be got from the Union ministry within 450 days.
A senior civic official said, “Even as consultants will be appointed to prepare the DPR, the civic body is figuring out what works can be undertaken without requiring the ministry’s permission and the proposed tunnel near the NCPA fits the bill. Since it will be constructed some metres underground, it would not require the ministry’s nod. We may require CRZ clearance at the opening of the tunnel near Marine Drive, but that will be done if it is necessary.”
The official also said that it is still unclear whether the multi-crore project would be executed by the BMC or an agency other than the civic body, or a joint venture with private players.
Asked about this, SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, refused to divulge details. He did say that the civic body was studying the likely repercussions on the daily traffic if the tunnel work was undertaken. “We can’t go ahead with any work without a scientific study. So this study has been initiated,” Srinivas said.
The proposed 35km road will run from Nariman Point to Kandivli
As per the plan, it will start at the Manora MLAs House, located behind the new administrative wing of Mantralaya
There will be at least 18 access points along the entire road
The impact on the environment is a major concern. In this context, authorities are looking at two options — to run the road on stilts over mangrove patches and reclamation of land from the sea.