Taking a cue from its rival planning body, the Shiv Sena-BJP ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning its own big-ticket road project after a gap of many years: a 1.3-km flyover on the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd link road. The flyover will stretch over the Shivaji Nagar and Bainganwadi signal junctions and would connect eastern suburbs better.
This signals that the civic body’s coming out of the shadow of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), which has long been behind the city’s flyovers. The latter, controlled by the Congress-NCP state government, has been accused of encroaching on the BMC’s territory.
The civic body has started the tendering process for this project, costing Rs86 crore, and is expected to start work after the monsoon. The project is likely to be completed in 30 months.
Ravindra Ghodke, chief engineer of the roads department said: “We will be using segmental technology: prefabricated structures will be connected together to form the bridge. This is probably the first time the BMC is using this technology.” Civic officials said that most of the city’s flyovers as well as the Metro rail and mono-rail via-ducts are constructed using segmental technology.
Although the GM link road is eight lanes wide and rarely sees traffic jams, officials insist that the flyover is necessary to reduce accidents. Shiv Sena corporator and standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, who hails from Mankhurd, said, “Vehicles would speed past in the absence of any traffic. A flyover is needed so that pedestrians don’t interact with traffic.”
Transport expert Sudhir Badami said that building a flyover wasn’t a solution to the problem. “People will realise that the jams have shifted in location.” Badami, however, added: “It is a political move. The Sena must be applauded for it. Such projects are the domain of the city’s local governance body. MMRDA carrying out such projects was nothing but political one-upmanship.”