Even as the state-appointed joint technical committee on coastal roads is slated to submit its report this week, the government has firmed up its decision to construct a sea link from Bandra to Versova.
A government resolution issued on Thursday by the Public Works Department (Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation) said that the decision to construct a 10 km sea bridge 900 metres into the sea, from Bandra to Versova, had been finalised after considering four options.
This alignment of the sea link had been recommended by MSRDC-appointed consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff, which carried out a feasibility study.
The GR states that the consultants recommended the sea link option after looking at preliminary cost estimates, environmental concerns and the new Coastal Regulatory Zone notification 2011.
This alignment has also got a go-ahead from the MSRDC board and was under consideration by the state. The state government, after consultations with the planning department and approval of the finance department, has now cleared this alignment.
The 8-lane link, which will run from Bandra to Versova, will have two connectors/inlets for vehicles at Carter Road junction (near Otters Club) and at Juhu Koliwada.
The sea link has got a green nod from the state coastal body and has been awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). "If we opt for mixed alignment or coastal road, we will have to struggle for clearances. MoEF is unlikely to clear the coastal road in a jiffy. In that time, the sea link project can take off," said a senior official, who did not wish to be named. There have been consistent flip-flops in the government in the last year on whether the Western Freeway project, aimed at linking south Mumbai to the western suburbs, should be a sea link or a coastal road.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has been keen on a coastal road as it is cost effective, had set up a committee led by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar to carry out a techno-feasibility report on the project. The report is likely to be submitted this week. This has already delayed the proposed Worli-Haji Ali sea link.
Interestingly, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has expressed dissatisfaction with the coastal road plan, pointing out that obtaining environmental clearance for such a plan would be impossible.