A group of union ministers (GoM) cleared a main hurdle in the eastern express freeway on Friday.
The developer will now be able to construct a 700-metre stretch of the four-lane expressway through eco-sensitive salt pans between S.V. Patel and Anik-Panjarapol of the P D’Mello Road.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to complete the Rs 531-crore project by June 2011.
However, since permission from the Centre was awaited to lay the road on Harmos and Dadkhudai salt pans near Wadala, the project was in a limbo for the past 10 years. Construction from either side (of the salt pans), including some tunnels, is on in full swing.
The eastern express freeway will provide a direct link between the Eastern Express Highway and south Mumbai. The 22-km corridor starts from the museum up to the Eastern Express Highway through the relatively less-congested roads of the Mumbai Port Trust area.
“With the construction on salt pans, the 11.4 km distance can be covered in just 20 minutes,” said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who presented the state’s case before the GoM headed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
The GoM’s intervention was needed because the salt pans were running despite the expiry of their licences in 1962. They had moved court to facilitate further business.