Although the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has made it clear that it won’t be constructing any more skywalk projects in the city, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is now eager to take the mantle of building a skywalk on its shoulders.
MHADA is proposing to build a 1.5-km skywalk, which will connect the busy T-junction in Dharavi with Mahim railway station on the east. It will be the first time in its history that the housing body will embark on a skywalk project, which is estimated to cost Rs 20 crore.
“In a recent meeting that took place a few days back, the CM asked us whether MHADA has the wherewithal to construct a skywalk. To which we replied ‘yes’. However, I would like to make it clear that MHADA won’t be spending any money on the same, and we have requested the government to fund the construction of the skywalk,” said MHADA vice- president Satish Gavai.
Yesterday, Gavai visited the proposed alignment of the skywalk. He said, “Looking at the high volume of pedestrians at the T-Junction and the 90-ft road in Dharavi, the skywalk is very essential. Many students, senior citizens traverse this road and there is an alarming rise in pedestrian deaths on this stretch. The skywalk will not only ensure safety of pedestrians, but will also reduce the traffic snarls, which at present occur due to abundance of pedestrians crossing the road.”
Presently, pedestrians face a lot of problem while making their way through the busy T-Junction in Dharavi, the Mahim-Sion Link Road and Sion-Bandra Link Road intersections. The situation gets worse during peak hours, as vehicular traffic badly affects movement on this road. In order to tackle this inconvenience, MHADA is proposing the thoroughfare starting at the T-Junction and going via Sion-Bandra Link Road, and then snaking its way along the 90-ft road and ending at Mahim station. Also, locals have been demanding a skywalk for a long time.
The concept of skywalks was introduced by MMRDA during the tenure of then MMRDA Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
The planning authority had even claimed that the skywalks will be successful, but after they were thrown open to the public, it was observed that only a few pedestrians were utilising them at some places.
Some transport experts had even stated that the funds spent by MMRDA are a waste of taxpayers’ money.
MMRDA has constructed 36 skywalks in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), and is estimated to have spent over Rs 700 crore on the same. After the flak it received, and the poor response, MMRDA decided not to build any more skywalks in Mumbai and MMR.