Vehicular traffic on the busy junction outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) may be phased out. Inspired by traffic planning in historic areas of cities abroad, the civic body has planned to make the CST area pedestrian-only by building a road under a part of DN Road.
The 550-metre underpass will begin from the CST-end of the JJ flyover and end past the Bhatia garden junction. Once the underpass is built, vehicular traffic on the DN Road stretch above this road will be closed to traffic.
The current junction of CST and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters will then be converted into a large garden.
The project, civic officials said, is being planned with a two-pronged strategy of increasing the green space and enhancing the tourism and heritage value of the CST area, which has six heritage buildings close to each other.
Stating that underpasses were a common phenomenon in cities abroad, SO Kori, chief engineer, bridges, BMC, said, “The plan is still at a very preliminary stage.”
"There are many century-old utilities [sewer lines, water pipelines and storm water drains] that run underneath the road. We have asked for remarks from 34 [internal] departments on the project after which we will proceed with the plan,” Kori said.
While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has planned a few underpasses in other areas of the city, a project of this magnitude is being planned by the BMC for the first time.
Kori said the possibility of connecting the underpass to Mahapalika Road and Hazarimal Somani Road is also being worked on. The construction details, costs of the project and the timeframe for completion are yet to be finalised.
While the BMC has planned the upgradation of the CST subway, making the road above pedestrian-only may mean that the subway will be shut down at a much later stage.
Officials said the underpass and the closing of the road above will also reduce pollution and thereby, blackening of the heritage buildings on the stretch.
Heritage experts have welcomed the move. “It is always a good thing to reclaim more space for pedestrians. Having vehicles cross from under the ground will definitely add to the visual scape of the area,” said Abha Lambah, conservation architect and former member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.