The Peddar Road flyover, hit by numerous obstacles in the last nine years, is back to life again.
It has been a controversial project ever since the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) first mooted it in 2000.
Singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have opposed it strongly, so have many other residents of Peddar Road.
The MSRDC itself has at times pushed it and at other times, put it on the backburner. The last time the state tried to expedite it (2008), the project got stuck in a redesign controversy: the proposed alignment could not obtain environment clearance because of the sharp curve at Girgaum Chowpatty and two piers on the beach.
It has never not been contentious, really.
After the opening of the Bandra-Worli sealink, however, the government is determined to push it through as the public mood is in favour of infrastructure projects and more importantly, questions about how traffic will now move smoothly from Worli to Nariman Point are already been raised.
While work on the Worli-Haji Ali link (which will cost Rs 1,900 crore) still hasn’t begun, the government thinks the third phase — Haji Ali to Nariman Point, which will cost Rs 6,000 crore — can be done away with altogether if the Peddar Road flyover is in place.
The state’s finances are not in great shape anyway.
“Investing Rs 6,000 crore on the Haji Ali-Nariman Point link seems a difficult and time-consuming proposition at this point in time. The Peddar Road flyover makes far more sense and will help smoothen traffic flow,” an MSRDC official said.
MSRDC vice-chairman and MD Satish Gavai said, “The flyover would play a huge role in solving traffic problems.”
The three-lane 4.7-km flyover will run from Lala Lajpat Rai College near the Haji Ali junction to Wilson College at Chowpatty. It can thus take all the traffic emanating from the sealink all the way to Marine Drive.
Many believe the flyover could have the same effect on traffic dispersal in south Mumbai as the 2.7-km JJ flyover.
The JJ flyover has helped reduce travel time from south Mumbai to central Mumbai. from 40 minutes to just eight.