Tunnelling for Mumbai's Coastal Road set to begin, 100 workers to drill 24x7
- The tunnelling work is expected to get completed by June 2022, while the entire road is set to get done by mid-2023.
By Mehul R Thakkar
Major tunnelling work on the 9-kilometre-long Coastal Road between Mumbai's Princess Street Flyover and Worli is starting from Monday. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is scheduled to inaugurate the tunnelling work that will be conducted in the 3-kilometre-long stretch between Chowpatty and Priyadarshini Park.
For the next 18 months, about 100 workers will drill day and night daily to complete the tunnelling by June 2022. The entire coastal road is expected to get ready by mid-2023. The 9-kilometre-long stretch of the coastal road is being constructed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The overall tunnelling work is expected to take 18 months. The BMC has set a deadline of June 2022 for the completion of the tunnelling work. There will be tunnels for both up towards south Mumbai and down towards Worli end. Boring work for each tunnel will take around nine months.
The tunnel boring machine (TBM), which is said to be the largest in India, and named 'Mavala' will be used to create a 3.45-kilometre twin undersea tunnel from Priyadarshini Park to Girgaum Chowpatty. Currently, the BMC has completed the assembling of the parts of the TBM, that it had purchased from China last year, at the worksite at Priyadarshini Park in Malabar Hill. The machine had arrived in April last year and was taken to the site in many dismantled parts on 17 trailer trucks.
The tunnelling work has been much delayed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which initially delayed the delivery of the TBM from China and. Also, the BMC had to tweak its plan for not using Chinese experts for the assembling of the TBM in the backdrop of border tensions between India and China.
According to the plan, the TBM that will start boring from Monday will be used to drill the 3.4-kilometre-long twin tunnels partially running under the sea, between Girgaum and Malabar Hill, as part of the 9.98-kilometre-long Coastal Road between Priyadarshini Park, and the Worli end of the Bandra Worli Sea Link.
It will operate 25 metres below the surface at Girgaum and 75 metres below the surface at Malabar Hill. The width of each tunnel will be 12 metres, with two lanes – each 3-3.2 metres wide – and one emergency lane. The BMC claims to have completed over 20 per cent of the work for the Coastal Road Project and has set a deadline of July 2023 to complete the entire project.
Vijay Nighot, chief engineer, BMC's Coastal Road Project, said, "At any given time, there will be a total 100 workers including technical persons, skilled and unskilled labour working for the tunnelling to undertake using the TBM. The tunnelling work will be done on all days for 24 hours. The aim is to timely complete the project."
Municipal commissioner of the BMC, Iqbal Singh Chahal said, "This is the largest diameter TBM (12.1 metres) till date in our country and we plan to complete two tunnels fully in 9 months each. Considering this timeline, the overall tunnelling would be completed by June 2022. This project will ease traffic movement in Mumbai from Nariman Point to Bandra."
Post-construction of Coastal Road, motorists will be able to reach Worli from Nariman Point within minutes.
However, beyond this towards the western suburbs, the state government is yet to take a call on the construction of a sea link or a coastal road beyond Versova. Initially, a decade ago, Coastal Road Project project was planned between Nariman Point and Kandivali claiming it will ease traffic for those travelling between north and south Mumbai. However, now there is a question whether there should be a Coastal Road or a Sea-Link beyond Versova to connect the suburbs.