The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) seems to be burning the candle at both ends to ensure that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s promise regarding the opening of the Eastern Freeway does not cause any embarrassment. Chavan assured that motorists would be able to zip across from South Mumbai to Ghatkopar via the Eastern Freeway early next year. The MMRDA has now accelerated work to ensure that the project is operational at the earliest.
City’s first tunnel
Besides the freeway project, work continues on Mumbai’s first tunnel, which is part of the Anik-Panjrapol Link Road (APLR). The APLR project is also part of Eastern Freeway project and will be completed by the end of October. Only 40 meters of rock needs to be excavated on the 500-meter long tunnel, before breaking through to the other side.
An MMRDA official said, “There is satisfactory progress on the project as well as the twin tunnel of APLR, which will be connected with the Eastern Freeway. We should be able to see daylight by the end of this month.”
The official added that after the rock is excavated, concrete lining needs to be added to strengthen the tunnel. It should be noted that after the Eastern Freeway mishap last month, the deadline for the project has been extended by two weeks, which would take completion to mid-January. The entire stretch from Orange Gate in south Mumbai to Panjrapol in Ghatkopar will be thrown open to traffic in the coming year and the four-lane stretch will be toll-free for motorists.
Could cost more
The cost of constructing the APLR is Rs 221 crore, but sources indicate that the cost could escalate. Also, around 5,000 people were required to be rehabilitated and resettled for the project.
In June, Chavan had visited four major projects being implemented by MMRDA. “It was a very satisfying visit. Progress on the Eastern Freeway and Anik-Panjarpol Link Road is definitely visible. The twin tunnels on the APLR are unique and also a first for the city. Both projects should be ready for Mumbaikars by the end of the year and will provide much relief to the eastern traffic,” Chavan had said. MMRDA had also assured the CM that they would see to it that the project is open for the motorists at the earliest.
Boon for truckers
“Work on the project has been speeded up and we are confident of opening the Eastern Freeway early next year,” said an MMRDA official. Because of the Eastern Freeway, travelling from South Mumbai to North Mumbai, Sion-Chembur and Mumbai Port Trust to Fort Market will be easier for goods vehicles. The route will also improve connectivity and reduce travel time.
Two up-down ramps from S V Road junction on P D’Mello Road to Orange Gate. (0.41 km)
Elevated corridor from Orange Gate to MbPT pipeline gate. (7.10 km)
Elevated corridor through salt pan and customs area with slip roads.(0. 7 km)
Wadala Truck Terminals
Elevated corridor through salt pan and customs area with slip roads. (0. 7 km)
500-metre twin-tunnel leading to stretch with up-down ramps with EEH access
Jijabai Bhosale Marg
Facts of the matter
Number of people rehabilitated and resettled before the project could be started
Rs 221 crore
The cost of constructing the four lane Anik-Panjrapol Link Road
The 22 km stretch, once operational, will allow direct connectivity to the Eastern Express Highway from South Mumbai. A sub-road on Mumbai Port Trust road and Fort Market areas will provide better connectivity for goods vehicles.
The Eastern Freeway starts at the Orange Gate, passes along Shahid Bhagatsingh Marg, Wadi Bundar on P D'Mello Road and enters into MbPT area before finally joining the Eastern Express Highway via the APLR.
The length of the proposed (phase 1) project is 12.0 km from Museum to Anik and the cost of project is Rs 531 crore. The second phase of the project is from Anik-Panjarpol to Ghatkopar.