Here's some good news for Mumbaiites. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority's (MMRDA) one-of-a-kind twin tunnel project is on track and the left tunnel will be thrown open to the public next month.
The twin tunnels are being built as part of the Anik Panjarpol Link Road, proposed to improve connectivity between the eastern suburbs and south Mumbai. The 500-metre tunnels are the first in India to be created within a city and to be used for urban transport.
Chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad had held a review meeting of all MMRDA projects last month, urging the agency to expedite work.
MMRDA officials have now informed Gaikwad that they will open the left tunnel by December.
The tunnels are being built at a cost of Rs61 crore. They will start at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) mountain and end at Gautam Nagar, near Panjarpol. Each tunnel is 18 metres wide, 10 metres high, and will have four lanes.
The APLR stretches from Anik, Wadala, to Panjarpol, Chembur and is being built at a cost of Rs210 crore. This road, in turn, is part of the Eastern Freeway project, wherein a 22-km road will be built from Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya in south Mumbai to Ghatkopar.
To build the twin tunnels, the MMRDA created a hole through a controlled blast, in a 120-metre high hillock near BARC, making room for the tunnels. Nearly 200 workers cut through the hillock to create the tunnels. Five lakh cubic metres of rock were dug during the excavation.
Work on the right tunnel is still incomplete and was interrupted, as there are 100 structures, including houses, which need to be demolished for construction to be carried out. "We have sought police protection to remove the structures. This will help expedite the project," a senior MMRDA official said.
The second tunnel is expected to be complete by mid-2012.