In a bid to unclog the city's arteries along its western suburbs, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has planned an ambitious 26-km elevated road from Bandra to Dahisar.
The proposed elevated road will start from Bandra and go on till Santacruz along the SV Road. Just before the Juhu Aerodrome, the road will go under the surface, through a 2.2km tunnel. This has been necessitated as the Airports Authority of India does not permit elevated structures along the airport. The road will then pass over Gulmohar Road till Infinity Mall in Andheri. From there, it will follow the link road alignment till Dahisar.
Over the last 50 years, Mumbai's road length has grown from 777km to 2,000km, even as vehicle growth has exploded from 49,000 to 18 lakh during the same period. Given this scenario, the proposed elevated road should be good news for the city. Instead, it has ended up as a case study demonstrating the lack of coordination between city's multiple civic agencies. Such is the confusion, that questions are already being raised over the feasibility of the project.
The first concern is redundancy. The route for MSRDC's elevated road seems to have a massive overlap with the MMRDA's proposed Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro line. In addition, the government is planning a Nariman Point-Malad coastal freeway to decongest traffic along a similar route.
The other concern is execution. MSRDC's elevated road will follow the metro line on the Link Road between Andheri and Charkop. So will the elevated road go over the metro or under it? Authorities are yet to decide. "The road will clash with the Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd metro in some places. We are still discussing if the elevated road should be built over the metro or if the metro should be built over the elevated road," said S Nandgirikar, MSRDC's technical advisor (special projects). MSRDC officials however claim that a feasibility study done by the agency has showed that an elevated road is possible.
Transport expert AV Shenoy doubted the feasibility of the project. “The idea seemes to be crazy. Roads on this stretch are already narrow. How will they construct this road,” he asked.
Amid all this, residents from suburbs between Bandra and Andheri have opposed the second metro line's elevated route and demanded that the line should be underground. However, the government has turned down their request.