With the Prime Minister laying the foundation stone on Saturday, the city’s marquee infrastructure projects that have been on the drawing board for many years now, will get a kick-start.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch two Metro projects, the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, two flyovers at Kalanagar Junction and the Kurla-Vakola elevated road.
Mumbai, which is reeling under pressure due to overcrowding, needs an urgent upgrade of its creaking transport infrastructure. These projects, according to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), aim to reduce overcrowding in suburban trains and provide some relief to the vehicular traffic.
As per the original master plan of MMRDA, the state government had originally planned to implement 145km of metro rail corridors in three phases by 2021 to ease the burden on the suburban rail network, but the government managed to complete only an 11.2km-corridor in the city.
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, which will connect Sewri and Nhava on the mainland, has been on the cards for three decades now. The project was first recommended in the 1970s and a formal alignment was finalised in 1984. After the government backpedalled furiously on private participation in its construction, it is now implementing the Rs17,750-crore link on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model.
Part of the revised Metro rail master plan of the MMRDA, the 23.5-km Metro-2B corridor will connect DN Nagar in Andheri (west) to Mankhurd in the eastern part of the city, and the 32-km Metro-4 corridor will provide parallel rail connectivity to the Central Railway by connecting Wadala-Ghatkopar-Mulund-Thane-Kasarvadavali. Metro 2B, which is estimated to cost Rs 10,986crore, will have 22 stations, while Metro-4, which will be constructed at a cost of Rs14,549 crore, will have 32 stations.
The MMRDA is planning to speed up the bidding process for these metro projects. “We plan to invite bids for the two corridors in January and we are expected that work on the corridors will commence towards the last quarter of 2017,” said Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
Meanwhile, the MTHL is a six-lane (3+3) road with a 5.5km viaduct and 16.5km sea-bridge. Once completed, the link will provide faster, shorter and comfortable connectivity to Navi Mumbai International Airport, JNPT along with the highways going to Pune and Goa.
However, the MMRDA has still not formalised a loan agreement for these projects. According to senior MMRDA officials, Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assured partial funding for Metro 2B and World Bank has expressed interest to partially fund the Metro-4 corridor.
With the BJP’s campaign for the civic polls centered around its development agenda for the city, the party is looking to push these projects and use them to officially sound the poll bugle. A senior MMRDA official said, “MMRDA has its funds and we can start the civil construction as we have done with Metro-2A and Metro-7. Simultaneously we are working on finalising the loan.” This means, civil works on metro projects can take off next year. While it will cut back on time and cost overruns, it could lead to a thin spreading of projects.
Modi will also launch road projects that will ease traffic congestion at the Kalanagar junction and on the Santacruz-Chembur Link road by 2019.
In the first phase, MMRDA will construct a 1.8km two-lane flyover to take traffic from the Bandra-Worli sea link (BWSL) to the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and vice-versa. A two-lane flyover will be built to take traffic from the sea link to BKC and vice-versa. The first phase also includes a shorter 300-metre link from the Sion-Dharavi link road to the BWSL. This shorter route will prevent vehicles from coming all the way up to the Kalanagar junction and then taking a left to BWSL and Mahim Causeway.
In phase II, another 2.9km two-lane flyover will be built from the Sion-Dharavi link road to the BKC-Kherwadi flyover. Phase I & II of the project will cost Rs227 crore in total. The 5km Kurla-Vakola elevated road corridor will be constructed from MTNL junction in BKC to LBS flyover in Kurla.