In an ambitious plan aimed at improving Mumbai’s transport infrastructure, the state government has proposed building a 302-km garland freeway which will be a ring road around the city.
The Rs 32,000-crore project includes construction of coastal roads (through reclamation and on stilts), sea links, elevated roads and expansion of existing roads. Though the Union Environment Ministry has been reluctant to clear construction of coastal roads by way of reclamation, it has decided to ask a high-powered committee to study the ring road project and examine if it can be undertaken without violating green norms.
The freeway will run from Virar through Versova, Bandra, Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade and Museum, and will then go through Ghatkopar to Ghodbun-der Road via Thane. It will be connected to Navi Mumbai through the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and to Panvel and Alibaug through the Multi-Modal Corridor.
The state made a presentation on the project to Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in Mumbai on Monday.
“After in-depth discussions, we have decided to set up a high-powered joint technical committee of the Environment Ministry and the state government to study the coastal road plan,” CM Prithviraj Chavan said after the meeting with Ramesh.
Apart from studying the project’s green impact, the panel will check if coastal roads can be built under existing CRZ norms. Ramesh reportedly ridiculed the plan to build coastal road in place of sea link. “We have neither reje-cted nor approved construction of coastal roads,” Ramesh said.