A major portion of the Eastern Freeway project is likely to be opened for public use in May this year, the MMRDA has said.
The project connects Anik Junction to Orange Gate. On Saturday, the last girder for its first phase was put in place. The project is to be built in three phases - a 9.3-km stretch from Orange Gate to Anik Junction, a 4.3km from Anik Junction to Panjarpol Link Road (APLR) and 2.8 km from Panjarpol to the Ghatkopar- Mankhurd Link Road (PGLR).
According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the civil work on the first two phases is now nearing completion and both phases will be ready by May.
"We consider this project an engineering challenge as it involved various technical difficulties. In addition, we had to deal with Coastal Regulation Zone and forest clearances, shifting of high tension electric wires, rehabilitation issues. Now, the 13.6-km stretch from Orange gate to Panjarpol will be ready by May this year," said Ashwini Bhide, MMRDA additional commissioner.
The construction of the third phase is expected to be completed by October, which will ensure the entire 16.4-km passage is ready by the end of the year.
"Earlier, it was proposed that all three phases be constructed separately. However, late, a decision to integrate all three phases was taken. So after the third face is completed in October, they will all be integrated into one Freeway," Bhide said.
The Orange gate to Panjarpol stretch will help reduce traffic snarls on Ambedkar road and the Eastern Express Highway.
"The Freeway will not have a single traffic signal, so a motorist going from south Mumbai to the eastern suburbs or Navi Mumbai will have a smooth ride," said JR Dhane, executive engineer of the MMRDA.
The Authority has estimated that it will take 16 lakh bags of cement and 2,600-km-long high tension steel strands to construct the Freeway.
The project, which is estimated to cost the government Rs1,265 crore, will reduce travel time from south Mumbai to the eastern suburbs to around 25 minutes.