CST-Panvel elevated corridor: Fast corridor to take a detour via Palm Beach Road

Rail authorities to restudy Rs 11,000-crore project; sources claim new alignment proposed by the MRVC is the same as mentioned in the previous feasibility report

Connectivity to Navi Mumbai seems to have hit a high note. After making arrangements for operating 12-car train services on the Harbour line, the Rs 11,000-crore CST-Panvel fast elevated corridor project is likely to witness a change in the alignment following the announcement made by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his budget speech yesterday.

The laying of the 5th and 6th lines will affect the elevated line from Dockyard to P D’Mello Road, while a detour (right) has been planned through Palm Beach Road
The laying of the 5th and 6th lines will affect the elevated line from Dockyard to P D’Mello Road, while a detour (right) has been planned through Palm Beach Road

Referring to Prabhu’s speech, wherein he mentioned achieving financial closure and awarding tenders for the elevated corridors between CST-Panvel and Churchgate-Virar, sources from Mumbai division said railway officials are restudying the entire project despite preparing a detailed report in the past.

Speaking to mid-day, Prabhat Sahai, chairperson and managing director, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), said, “The earlier alignment (CST-Panvel) will be redone. The new corridor will go via Palm Beach Road up to Belapur (after Mankhurd) and then move towards Panvel.”

Sources claimed this detour is being considered owing to various CIDCO projects in the area. They claimed the detour was mentioned in the previous feasibility report as well. Explaining the detour, one of the sources said, after crossing the Palm Beach Road the elevated rail line will realign with the existing rail alignment and go all the way till Panvel. Moreover, the new line will also connect the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport with the help of a Metro rail. “We are proposing a Metro line from Seawoods to the proposed airport,” said a CIDCO official.

In his speech, Prabhu mentioned: “The CST-Panvel corridor will be integrated with Metro lines planned by the State Government to connect the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport.”

Major hurdles
Culmination of CST-Panvel fast line has emerged as the major problem for the project. While the original plan was to divert the elevated line from Dockyard Road towards P D’mello Road, one of railways’ own project — laying of 5th and 6th rail lines for operating long-distance trains — is affecting the project’s feasibility.

The project for laying the new lines is being implemented in two phases. The Phase-I will be executed between Kurla and Parel, where a Rs 900-crore Parel Terminus has been planned. Phase-II comprises laying the 5th and 6th lines between Parel and CST. “We aim to complete the Phase-I by 2019 and Phase-II by 2020,” said M Gupta, CAO (Construction), CR.

Sources claimed following last week’s meeting between CR and state government authorities, MMRDA will now undertake a comprehensive study for various modes of transport projects to give more scope to the fast elevated corridor on the Harbour line.

The second problem that plagues the fast corridor is the MMRDA’s ambitious plan of extending its Eastern Freeway from Orange Gate to CST. Sources claimed that despite provisions made for two rail lines the fast corridor will be affected due to space constraint. They said railways would then be forced to use the land under Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) all the way till Ballard Pier and instead of terminating there, take a detour and end at Carnac Bunder. However, securing land from the trust will be an uphill task for the railways.

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