Mayor Shraddha Jadhav directed municipal officials on Tuesday to work on opening the Kurla subway as soon as possible.
The decision is likely to benefit more than five lakh residents of Kurla because it will improve connectivity between east and west.
“We will ask the railways to build a staircase at both the ends so that the subway is opened to pedestrians,” Jadhav said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I have asked them to open it up before the monsoon.”
Hindustan Times had report in its Monday edition that the Kurla subway, which was partly completed, was filled with water and slum dwellers were using it as reservoir.
“We will sort out the approaches to the subway with the BMC and complete it at once,” said S.C. Mudgerikar, Central Railway's chief spokesperson.
The subway would have made travel easy especially for light vehicles that are forced to take a 6-km detour through Sion or Ghatkopar to go from Kurla east to west.
The 120-m long, 28-ft wide subway was completed in early 2005, but was not opened to public because the Veermata Jeejabai Technical Institute (VJTI) said that the subway was prone to heavy flooding due to groundwater seepage and other technical problems.
The VJTI’s feasibilty report, submitted on January 30, 2006, said the vehicular subway project would have to be shelved. The report suggested that the subway could be turned into a pedestrian subway after 70 per cent of the project is complete.
Since there were two pedestrian bridges connecting Kurla east and west already, it was initially decided that the subway would for pedestrians and light vehicles only.
Work on the Rs 8-crore project began in 2001 as a joint venture between the BMC and the Central Railway. The Central Railway issued work orders to build the subway under a dozen running railway tracks.
The BMC told the railways that it did not find the subway feasible and asked VJTI to conduct a technical feasibility study. The railways claim they went ahead with the project after the then municipal commissioner’s approval and were not told about the VJTI report.