Paving the way for the state’s first multi-modal transport corridor, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has given a go-ahead to construct an 80-km link between Navghar in Virar and Chirner near Panvel in the eco-sensitive coastal regulation zone (CRZ) near creeks and mangroves.
The corridor, which will be the first phase of the longer 126-km Virar-Alibaug multi-modal corridor, will comprise a Metro corridor, dedicated bus lanes, lanes for other motor transport and pedestrian walkways. The project will connect towns across the mumbai metropolitan region including Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivli, Panvel, Pen, Uran and Alibaug.
A senior official with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said, “With this, we have got one of the major clearances. We are also working on getting a forest clearance because the project involves some diversion of forest land. We should be able to finish the ground work in the next one year and float tenders for actual construction by the end of next year.”
The MMRDA is currently conducting land surveys to begin land acquisition along the corridor, he said.The MCZMA has directed the MMRDA to establish a separate environment cell for the project comprising experts from oceanography, marines environment, coastal engineering and waste management. Of the entire alignment of the project, 20.47 lakh sqm falls under CRZ, hence requiring a CRZ nod from the MCZMA.
The MMRDA will also have to produce a separate environment management plan to ensure there is no reclamation, there is no adverse impact on mangroves and the activities of local fishermen are not hampered.
The entire corridor is proposed to be 99-m wide with a 30-m metro rail corridor in the Centre. The MMRDA will also provide for eight lanes of bus corridors and vehicular traffic corridors, four on either side, besides pedestrian corridors and parking bays.
“We plan to invite bids for construction of the entire corridor, including the Metro line, together,” the MMRDA official said.
The MCZMA’s approval will, however, have to be validated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which the MCZMA has recommended.
The Navghar to Chirner phase, expected to cost about Rs10,000 crore, is also touted to be a useful connector for the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport and the JNPT port.