Mumbai: BMC plans to cut across Juhu airport for Andheri Santacruz-Link Road

Updated: Jan 23, 2018, 17:14 IST | Chetna Yerunkar | Mumbai

Juhu aerodrome, which has survived several attempts by land mafia to gobble it up, faces new threat, this time from the BMC. Will it survive?

The CMP proposes building a road that will cut right through the runway at Juhu airport to connect Santacruz with Andheri. File pic
The CMP proposes building a road that will cut right through the runway at Juhu airport to connect Santacruz with Andheri. File pic

Over three years and Rs 7.9 crore later, this is the genius plan the BMC has come up with to improve connectivity in the city - they want to build two roads right across the Juhu airport's operational area. This is what has been proposed in the civic body's comprehensive mobility plan (CMP), but even civic officials admit it's not the most practical plan. Fortunately, they are now considering building an underpass below the airport to connect Santacruz with Andheri.

Also read: 'Chop Juhu airport runway by half for minaret'

The BMC now intends to build an underpass below the runway, instead of cutting across it. File pic
The BMC now intends to build an underpass below the runway, instead of cutting across it. File pic

The BMC had appointed international consultants to prepare the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) as far back as 2014. After the expenditure of Rs 7.9 crore, the plan that was finally submitted to the civic body in 2016 suggested building not one, but two roads cutting across Juhu airport. Even more bizarre was the proposal to construct one of these roads right across the runway, while the other one is designed to cut through the airport's operational area.

Juhu airport

The CMP suggests an action plan spanning across nearly two decades, with three phases - short term (2016-2019), medium term (2020-2024) and long term (2025-2034). The first phase alone is estimated to cost 1,000 times the amount spent on developing the plan, ie Rs 7,962 crore. This phase includes widening of 177 roads, as well as building 70 new roads to bridge the missing links between major parts of the city. One such missing link that needs to be built is between Santacruz and Andheri; the same road that is proposed to pass through the Juhu runway. According to K-West ward officials, this 30.5-metre road will connect Link Road in Santacruz to NS Road number 10 in Juhu, which continues further as the Link Road to Borivli.

BMC's alternative plan
No doubt, the city needs a road to improve connectivity between these two suburbs, but even civic officials admit it may be more practical to build an underpass below the runway. Building a road through the airport will not only require possession of land that belongs to Airport Authority of India, but will also hamper operations on the runway.

The BMC is now preparing a contingency plan for this missing link. V P Chithore, chief engineer of the Roads and Traffic department, said, "The road was part of the 1991 Development Plan and is now a part of the revised draft DP 2034. We are not writing off the missing link, as an underpass is always an alternative in such cases."

Two other roads
There is yet another road proposed to cut through the airport, which is to be built in the second phase of the CMP. This road will also connect the Link Road in the south to Gulmohar road in Juhu. According to the official map accessed by mid-day, there is third road that has also been proposed for the last phase, which will pass through the airport authority's land. However, that area is currently packed with slums. This road will connect Link Road to Juhu Tara Road.

177
Number of roads that are to be widened

70
Number of missing link roads to be constructed

30.5m
Width of the road proposed to cut through runway

Rs 7.9 crore
Amount spent on preparing the plan

Rs 7,962 crore
Estimated cost of phase I of the plan

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