After receiving flak for failing to throw open the Eastern Freeway -- which slashes travel time between south Mumbai and eastern suburbs to less than half an hour — till the VIPs make time to inaugurate it (No VIP, no Freeway, June 6), officials from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have finally decided to throw open the Eastern Freeway after it is inaugurated by CM Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday.
Sources from MMRDA told this newspaper that the structure would be open to the public on Thursday itself. The decision was taken after the planning authority was facing criticism for not opening it earlier, especially two days ago, when Mumbai was battling with submerged roads owing to the torrential rains. Additionally, the authorities were not able to get the top brass from the Centre to inaugurate the freeway. Sources said that on Thursday, Chavan will inaugurate the 13.59-km stretch at Orange Gate, P D’Mello Road.
Also, the officials feel that the Eastern Freeway will be a unique tourist attraction as it is the first road in the city to have twin tunnels. Starting at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre hill, it ends at Gautam Nagar near Panjarpol. Both passageways in the tunnel are 500 m in length. Only one tunnel will be thrown open now. The other will be operational next year.