Poor planning, Lalbaug flyover may limit monorail to Naigaon | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Poor planning, Lalbaug flyover may limit monorail to Naigaon

Congestion, oversight roadblocks for completing project according to plan, say contractors.

mumbai Updated: Mar 01, 2012 02:22 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

The contractors building the monorail between Chembur and Jacob Circle in central Mumbai have told chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad the project may miss the December deadline. To blame, they say, is poor infrastructural planning, and the densely populated Currey Road stretch, which may force the line to terminate at Naigaon.

Miffed over delays in the project initiated by him when he was chief of the city’s urban planning authority, Gaikwad has asked the L&T-Scomi consortium to to ensure the monorail is at least operational from Chembur to Naigaon by year-end.

“L&T officials told the chief secretary about difficulties in constructing the monorail over the Lalbaug flyover, and in working on a busy stretch like Currey Road. They also raised concerns about the shifting of underground utilities at Jacob Circle,” a senior state government official said.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which commissioned the Rs2,450-crore project, had decided to divide it into two phases. The first phase, 8.26-km-long, travels through comparatively less populated areas between Chembur and Wadala. Work on this phase is to be completed by May. The 11.28-km second section, from Wadala to Jacob Circle, runs through congested ones, for which the state government had set a deadline of December. But the contractors now seem to have realised the difficulty in undertaking this work.

The key challenges are building the monorail over Lalbaug flyover and working on the Currey Road station stretch, which is narrow and crowded. The monorail will also pass through busy stretches like KEM hospital and Haffkine’s Institute, where construction activity could be a problem.

The project has been plagued by shoddy planning since its inception in 2008, suffering delays and changes because of the route chosen. The alignment at Jacob Circle and Chembur was altered as the line could not pass through congested and narrow lanes at these areas.

It was also extended by 750 metres to avoid construction on a narrow stretch at Parel Tank road. Issues had also been raised about building the monorail very close to Arthur Road jail. Worried about these problems, the MMRDA has now kept plans of new monorail routes on the backburner.