The ambitious Rs15,000-crore coastal road project, which will south and north Mumbai, does not guarantee the end of Mumbaiites’ commuting woes. Instead, phase I of the project will worsen the traffic by creating bottlenecks on roads at the two ends of the coastal road, said sources.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently received clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) for phase I. However, uncertainty looms large over phase II of the project.
Last year, to fast track the approval process from the state and the Central governments, the BMC divided the costal road in to two phases. Instead of awaiting clearance for the entire 29.2-km long - Princess Street flyover to Kandivli - stretch, the civic body sought separate clearances for phase I — Princess Street flyover to Bandra Worli sea link — and phase II — Bandra to Kandivli.
To complicate matters, there is no clarity on which government agency will construct phase II. Last year, the BMC had received flak from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) as phase II would require large-scale reclamation of land for which mangroves will face the axe.
Commenting on the issue, a senior civic official said, “Currently, we are focusing on constructing phase I of the project. There are a few issues related to phase II and we’ll need some time to resolve them. Juhu beach and Versova are problem areas, but we are working on it. Soon, we’ll have mitigation measures and a disaster management plan.’’
About phase I
The cost of phase I of the eight lane road, with two dedicated bus lanes, is pegged at Rs7,000 crore. The project includes an under-sea tunnel from Princess Street to Priyadarshani Park, followed by a coastal road till Worli, and a connector between the sea link and Carter Road. The BMC is expecting global players to take up the project. The firm bagging the contract will be asked to deliver on the BMC-approved design or select its own, whichever is cost-effective, said a civic official.
A few foreign companies, with their Indian partners, have shown interest in constructing phase I. So far, eleven companies have expressed their interest in the project and the BMC is likely to start the evaluation process soon.
“Once this is done by May-end, we will call for request for proposal during which contractors can submit their bids.Once everything falls into place, the construction work is likely to start before the end of 2017.”