After 10 long years, the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road is finally ready, but sources within the MMRDA say it will be thrown open to the public just a few days before the city goes to polls on April 24, so that it is fresh in the voter’s memory
You’ve waited for it for 10 long years, and in an answer to your prayers for easier, faster commutes, the Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR) is finally ready.
But the Congress-NCP state government would have you endure the wait for a few more weeks, in hope that a well-timed inauguration will impress voters enough to give the alliance an advantage on Election Day.
The SCLR project has already earned the embarrassing tag of being the ‘world’s most delayed road project’. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
The project, which has already earned the embarrassing tag of being the ‘world’s most delayed road project’ is a 100 per cent complete. And yet, sources from MMRDA have confirmed that the stretch will be thrown open to motorists on the second or third week of the month, just a few days ahead of polling in the state.
A senior MMRDA official said, requesting anonymity, “The civil work of SCLR is 100 per cent complete, and only the final touches remain, such as painting the dividers and the lines on the sides of the road.
We can complete this in just a couple of days. But we have been asked not to hurry, and only make sure the work is completed within the next week, so that the SCLR can be thrown open to the public in the second or third week of April.”
The MMRDA has projected the SCLR as one of its most important projects after the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), as it is expected to ease commuting woes between the eastern and western suburbs.
Another source in MMRDA said, “The Congress-NCP government now wants MMRDA, which is headed by the Congress, to throw open several infrastructural projects in Mumbai just before the elections.”
He added, “Many representatives of political parties from the areas around SCLR have been calling us up, and asking us when are we opening the SCLR. Some even tell us that it should be opened just a week before Election Day, so that voters know what kind of developmental work the government has done.”
The project has already missed 12 deadlines since its inception in 2003. In 2010, when the World Bank was funding the project, Roberto Zagha, the India head of the financial institution, referred to SCLR as the ‘world’s most delayed road project.’
mid-day had reported on the escalating project cost brought on by the massive delays, with the expenses rising from the initially estimated R114.8 crore to a staggering R428 crore – a R313 crore jump. As per the initial plan, the groundwork for the link road was to start in September 2003, but began only in 2007.
About the SCLR
SCLR is the city’s second east-west arterial connector and will join Western Express Highway (WEH) to the Eastern Express Highway (EEH). It is expected to ease traffic snarls at Amar Mahal Junction, Vakola, Kalanagar Junction, Sion and Kurla, and also significantly de-congest the EEH and WEH.
It will cut down travel time between Santacruz and Chembur to a mere 15 minutes. Today, Mumbaikars require anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes to cross this stretch during peak hours.
Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “Work on SCLR is almost complete, and workers are now in the process of giving finishing touches. We will open SCLR by the second week of April.” He added that the project will be thrown open without the fanfare surrounding an official inauguration, as the code of conduct is in effect.
The first deadline the project failed to stick to, after which it missed another 11
Rs 115 crore
The estimated cost, when the project was first announced
List of missed deadlines
>> November 2004
>> September 2006
>> December 2008
>> December 2009
>> June 2010
>> June 2011
>> December 2011
>> December 2012
>> March 2013
>> October 2013
>> December 2013
>> March 2014