BMC plans makeover of footpaths in heritage precincts of South Mumbai
MUMBAI In a welcome move, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to beautify the footpaths in a few heritage precinct areas in south Mumbai and make them pedestrian-friendly. The civic body has planned to implement the cast-in-situ method for redoing footpaths at Churchgate Pedestrian Plaza, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Chowk, Metro Junction, Horniman Circle and Veer Nariman Street.
In 2020, the BMC had developed the stretch of footpath between the Mumbai University Fort Campus and National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) on a pilot basis. In this project too, the civic body had implemented the cast-in-situ method of concreting instead of using the usual paver blocks and tiles. The cast-in-situ method includes the use of concrete and cement which is prepared at the construction site and poured onto the surface after which it is left for curing. Almost all the existing footpaths in Mumbai are constructed using paver blocks and tiles which eventually makes their surface uneven with time. The cost of maintaining paver blocks is higher while the design life is short.
P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner (projects), said that the usage of concrete instead of paver blocks or tiles will provide longevity to the footpath and will also reduce the maintenance cost. “We will be merging the footpath with the existing carriageway on the road. The surface of these footpaths will be smoother and pedestrian-friendly. We will be re-engineering these footpaths in a way that wheelchair users can find it easy to move,” Velrasu said.
To ensure that pedestrians don’t face any inconvenience, only 100 metre of work will be carried out at a time and the cost of the entire project has been pegged at around Rs45 crore he said. The project has to be completed within 12 to 15 months which includes the monsoon season, and the BMC has already issued the work order for this. “These footpaths will be constructed in panels so that if a portion of the footpath gets damaged in future, we can replace that panel with a new one instead of digging the entire footpath,” Velrasu said.
As the project is going to be undertaken in the heritage precinct, the BMC has roped in conservation architect Pankaj Joshi as a consultant for the project. Joshi said that besides re-engineering footpaths, new street furniture including concrete benches, road signages and bus shelters will also be installed on the footpaths. Joshi was also part of the pilot project that the BMC undertook last year.
“The paver blocks and tiles that are used in building footpaths get detached easily from the surface which makes the surface uneven. Due to which people prefer to walk on roads instead of footpaths, which is why we will be designing the footpath surface for universal accessibility. Besides re-engineering the footpaths, we will also re-organise the tree-surrounds that will give more space to the roots to grow,” said Joshi. He mentioned that as the work will be carried out through a longer area, the width of the footpaths will vary between 1.2 to 2 metre to 9 to 11 metre.
“The primary objective of this project is to use the space available to us in a smart manner. Dedicated pitches for the street vendors will be created and we will also paint the lanes highlighting parking spaces of these areas. This will minimise encroachment and encourage more people to use the footpaths,” he said.
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