Owing to the lengthy delay in obtaining the necessary permissions for its construction from Central Railway authorities, the project cost has shot up from the budgeted Rs 110 crore to Rs 550 crore

After almost a year, the Central Railway (CR) finally granted permission to the Maharashtra State Road
and Transport Development Corporation (MSRDC) on Wednesday, for the construction of a significant stretch of the important Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR). The long delay however, has raised its construction cost five-fold, to a whopping Rs 550 crore. The original budget had been calculated at Rs 110 crore.

Go ahead! The SCLR has been under construction since 2003, and was
originally scheduled to have been completed by 2008. File Pic

Currently, the SCLR ends abruptly before the railway tracks near Tilak Nagar railway station, with tall pillars jutting out on either side. The 6.45 km-long bridge is being constructed under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), partially funded by the World Bank. It has been under construction since 2003, and was originally scheduled to have been completed by 2008.

The nod
The CR authorities agreed to the proposal of allowing this east-west link road to pass over its railway tracks, only after the design of the SCLR was altered. However, they reportedly withheld permission for construction, fearing that train services would be affected.

As per the revised design, one of the pillars will now be installed inside the Kurla yard, which is presently used for stabling trains at night. "There have been changes to the original design. Initially, the pillar was supposed to be situated between the tracks," said V Malegaonkar, chief PRO, CR.

Sources in the CR said that the work on the bridge is most likely to commence in the next three months. "While the design has been altered, there are no changes in the actual alignment of SCLR," said a senior CR official. "The railway authorities have approved the revised design for this stretch, and it has now been sent to their safety department for clearance," said an official from MSRDC.

'It's their fault'
Recently, the locals and infrastructure experts had criticised the MSRDC for its tardy and unplanned approach towards the construction of the SCLR. "The railways have been the biggest hurdle for this project. They must give importance to such projects and prevent them from being delayed," said Jitendra Gupta, a member of the Citizens Transport Committee.