If all goes as per plans, the ride to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will soon turn into a joyride.
The Rs287 crore Sahar elevated road project, which has been delayed by over 11 months, got a boost on Thursday with the demolition of 350 houses at Bamanwada near the Western Express Highway.
The project-affected persons (PAPs) will be shifted to resettlement colonies in Kurla and Oshiwara.
Work on the project had been affected as many families living along the 2km route had initially refused to shift. However, following sustained negotiations with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), they agreed to shift.
The two-km elevated road will provide direct connectivity to the international airport from the Western Express Highway and ease traffic congestion on this stretch. The project was commissioned in January 2008 and was expected to be complete in two years.
However, there were nearly 700 tenements, which needed to be demolished and the PAPs shifted. The delay in rehabilitating the PAPs substantially delayed the project.
“We have demolished 350 houses at Bamanwada. We will demolish remaining houses by year-end and will complete the road by May 2012,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, MMRDA.
One of the major issues with the Sahar project-affected people was that of eligibility.
According to senior officials, the project involved many slumdwellers, who were technically not eligible for rehabilitation and the ensuing correspondence between PAPs and agency had delayed the demolition of these houses.
The elevated road is being constructed under the Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The expenditure is being borne by the Central government, the state government, the MMRDA and the Mumbai International Airport Limited.