Beyond Versova, coastal road leads to uncertaintyUpdated: Jan 16, 2020 23:28 IST
Even as the construction of phase one of the coastal road between Princess Street Flyover and Worli has picked up pace after the Supreme Court (SC) lifted the stay last month, there is no clarity on the route it will take from Versova to the western suburbs – whether the upcoming sea link will be extended or a road will be built. Result? Two government agencies are working on different plans for the stretch.
In 2010, the 35-km coastal road was planned between Nariman Point and Kandivli for smoother traffic movement between north and south Mumbai.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is building the nine-km phase-1, which will take motorists up to Versova via the Worli-Bandra sea link, from where they will be linked to the now under-construction Bandra-Versova sea link.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) proposed the Bandra-Versova sea link 12 years ago, but scrapped it in 2015, citing the coastal road project would be on a similar route.
In 2016, the sea link was brought back into the picture, and the construction of a coastal road between Bandra and Versova was scrapped, citing protest from residents to save Juhu beach.
The BMC now claims the coastal road beyond Worli is not their responsibility, raising questions on the fate of the coastal road beyond Versova.
Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, said, “We have the mandate of constructing the coastal
road between Princess Street flyover and Worli only. The remaining is with MMRDA and MSRDC.”
Two years ago, the state government asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to take the coastal road further. However, in 2019, the MSRDC came up with a plan to extend the Bandra-Versova sea link by another 40km and take it up to Virar. In such a scenario, there will be two road projects on the same route and authorities fear construction of a coastal road beyond Versova might eat into the traffic on the Versova-Virar sea link, which will be a tolled road.
Vijay Waghmare, joint managing director, MSRDC, told HT, “We are currently preparing a feasibility report on the Versova-Virar sea link. After the preparation, we will put up the alignment in front of the state government for approval. Also, ideally it would not be advisable to not have a sea link and a coastal road parallel to each other, but it depends on the state government and also what comes out of our feasibility study.”
The MMRDA said it has prepared a detailed project report (DPR) for a coastal road between Versova and Ghodbunder. An official said, “We have identified preliminary alignment, but there might be a lot of environmental concerns.”
Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We have prepared the DPR for coastal road, however, MSRDC also has a plan for a sea link. The state will take a call.”
Pankaj Joshi, executive director of the Urban Development Research Institute (UDRI), said, “It is ideal to have a sea link rather than going for a coastal road beyond Versova. A sea link will not disturb the Koliwadas and mangroves, compared to a coastal road. Also, it will be ideal to have connectivity till Boisar, as it is where the population is migrating. I am sure that the government will go with any one of the two options considering both will not be advisable.”