After receiving flak from environmentalists for its proposal to widen Aarey road as a part of the ambitious Goregaon-Mulund Link road project, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now study the feasibility of converting it into an elevated road.
This means the entire 14-km stretch from Goregaon to Mulund could be developed as a four-lane elevated road passing over Aarey Colony, Saki Vihar, Bhandup Complex and joining LBS Marg at Mulund.
“To avoid cutting trees and restricting animal movement, we have decided to explore the option of constructing an elevated road over Aarey Colony road. We have informed the consultants to study its
feasibility so that the project has a minimal environmental impact,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.
The civic body’s initial plan was to widen Aarey Road into four lanes till Saki Vihar and then construct an elevated road till Mulund. However, environmental activists had raised concerns over the ecological disturbance that would cause to Aarey Colony, which includes a vast area of green cover.
But the construction of an elevated road will bring its own set of problems. The cost of the project is likely to double the current estimate of Rs900 crore.
Last month, the BMC had announced the construction of wildlife crossings at Aarey Road and the fencing of a 7km stretch to restrict animal movement. But the civic body will have to remove 1,162 trees in the process of widening the road. The number of trees that may be affected on the stretch between Saki Vihar and LBS Marg is yet evaluated.
The Goregaon-Mulund Link Road will be fifth road connecting the eastern and western sides of the suburbs. But in the last few years, the project has been mired in controversy over environmental clearances.
In 2007, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had decided to put off the Aarey Road widening project following opposition from nature lovers and green activists.
“There are various challenges in constructing the road from Goregaon to Saki Vihar via Aarey Colony. The feasibility reports will give us a clear idea about the plan. Considering an elevated road is one step towards protecting the environment,” said a senior civic official.