BMC agrees to alter route to save Aarey Colony trees
The civic body’s group leaders gave their nod yesterday to construct a tunnel through Sanjay Gandhi National Park instead of building an elevated road to reduce the project’s ecological damage
The Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) yesterday received a nod for a change in alignment from the party group leaders at the BMC. With this change in the GMLR’s plan, the distance between Aarey Colony and Nahur will reduce by around 10 km.
GMLR has been touted as one of the BMC’s most ambitious projects and will provide additional connectivity between Eastern and Western suburbs
According to the earlier proposal, the 16-km GMLR was to start from Aarey toll naka, near the Western Express Highway. The existing Aarey Colony road will be widened to accommodate four lanes that will wind through the colony till Powai toll naka, at which point the link road will become elevated. The elevated road will then run parallel to Vihar Lake, finally terminating on LBS Marg in Mulund.
Now, the BMC has proposed a tunnel across Vihar Lake that will further reduce the distance. However, as the tunnel will fall in the core area of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), it will need environmental clearances.
As per the original plan, the road circumvented Vihar Lake, SGNP and went via General A K Vaidya Marg-Film City-Bhandup complex-Khandepada to meet DP Road in Nahur. However, in November last year, environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal had suggested the construction of a tunnel to save close to 1,000 trees in Aarey Colony. The environmentalist had proposed a route starting from General A K Vaidya Marg, passing below SGNP and ending at LBS Marg. However, the suggestion had not found traction with the BMC.
GMLR has been touted as one of the most ambitious projects of the BMC, and it will provide additional connectivity between Eastern and Western suburbs and substantially cut down travel time. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,300 crore.
According to the new proposal, the BMC has two tunnel plans to choose from: one that passes beneath Film City to Khandipada (9-km-long) or another in which a tunnel is proposed to begin at the end of Film City to Khandipada (6-km-long).
“We are considering these two tunnel plans, as they will reduce the distance considerably. However, it may not result in reduction of cost of the project. Construction of tunnels is an expensive affair, but in the long run they will prove to be assets,” said a senior civic official associated with the project.
The project is scheduled to complete in three phases, which involves widening of a bridge at Nahur, construction of the tunnel and widening of DP Road.
At present, the BMC is in process to appoint a consultant for peer review of the project, following which tenders will be awarded. “We gave our nod to the project. But, the commissioner needs to get the environmental clearance for the project,” said Raees Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator.