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State plans elevated roads over 2 highways to unclog Mumbai

The public works department mulls Rs2,000-crore elevated road project over Western and Eastern Express highways to ensure smooth entry to and exit from the city; experts think it’s a bad idea.

mumbai Updated: Jul 24, 2018 12:22 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,elevated roads over 2 highways,unclog Mumbai
The elevated road is expected to reduce traffic on the Western Express Highway (in pic).(HT File Photo)

In an ambitious plan to tackle Mumbai’s growing traffic, the state public works department (PWD) has proposed to construct elevated roads over the existing Western Express Highway (WEH) and Eastern Express Highway (EEH).

The PWD, which is in charge of the two highways in the city, has appointed consultants to study the feasibility of the proposed project and prepare a detailed plan for it.

The two elevated roads will go over existing flyovers as well as Metro corridors planned on the two highways, PWD officials said.

The 26.5-km WEH runs between Dahisar toll naka and Bandra, and the 23.5-km EEH runs between Mulund toll naka and Sion. The elevated roads are proposed to be built over the entire length of the existing highways—Dahisar to Bandra on WEH and Mulund to Sion on EEH.

The two highways ferry a substantial amount of the city’s traffic every day. According to senior PWD officials, the idea is deal with the increasing traffic on the two roads and to prevent vehicles that enter the city or are leaving Mumbai from merging with city traffic. The two elevated roads are expected to have entry and exit ramps at key locations.

Apart from the two highways, Mumbai has three arterial roads – SV Road, Link Road and LBS Marg – but they have a much lower carrying capacity, as they are two- to three-lane carriageways.

“We are working on two things. One is to repair the existing roads, and carry out improvements. Secondly, we are also exploring the feasibility of the idea, if an elevated road can be constructed over the existing express highways. We have appointed consultants, and a proposal is ready,” said CP Joshi, secretary (roads), PWD.

Another senior official said the estimated cost of the project is around ₹2,000 crore and the project is likely to be taken up under the Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) – a financial model where the government and a private player share a percentage of cost and risk.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is constructing two elevated Metro lines on the express highways – Dahisar (East)-Andheri (East) Metro-7 corridor on WEH and Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavali (Metro-4) on EEH.

PWD officials said technically it is possible to construct an elevated road over the Metro and the flyovers. “Once we get the final shape of the Metros, and their work is through, we can start our work. The details are being worked out by the consultants,” the official said.

PWD will soon give a presentation on the plan to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and PWD minister Chandrakant Patil.

The plan is being floated at a time when the government is building a Metro network to encourage motorists to switch to public transport. Transport experts called the plan “nonsensical” and argued that such a move would instead encourage motorists.

Ashok Datar, transport expert, said the authorities are building a coastal road and a sea link rather than focusing on public transport. “It is a ridiculous idea, which is not well thought-out. With more roads, there would be more vehicles on the roads. It will compound the problems. The city lacks a basic parking policy. Where will all these cars go,” Datar asked.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 10:12 IST