It will be Mumbai’s first high-speed road corridor and, once complete, it promises to speed up travel and curb the number of heavy vehicles entering the city.
The Eastern Freeway is divided into three sections of which construction on two sections — from the museum to Anik and from Anik to Panjrapol — is in progress. The third stretch, from Panjrapol to Chembur-Mankhurd Link Road, is likely to be ready by January 2011. Once ready, you should be able to drive the entire distance in 20 minutes. As of now, motorists travelling north-east from Fort take an hour to reach Sion.
Piling work has begun and several pillars are ready. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to complete the project by December 2010 at an estimated cost of Rs 550 crore. It is being funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission — the Centre will bear 35 per cent of the cost, the state 15 per cent and MMRDA the rest.
The third phase may be delayed as there are complex utility cables and petroleum lines under the road, as well as high-tension power cables that need to be shifted.
“For the first two phases, we were asked to build the corridor higher in certain areas as the port trust railway passes under it,” the engineer said.
Another elevated road — at Sahar — has been planned and work on the Rs 287 crore project is on. The road will eventually connect Western Express Highway to Terminal 2 of the airport, which will ease passenger movement.