The Eastern Freeway

Colaba to Mankhurd in 35 minutes. It’s a motorists dream, one that will become reality in a little less than two years if all goes as planned and the Eastern Freeway corridor is completed on time. What sets this 22-km-corridor apart is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) decision to construct two 500m long tunnels under a hill that falls in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) area. The Eastern Freeway promises to bypass 28 traffic signals, and starts from the Prince of Wales museum in Fort. It will be completed in three phases: the first 12-km-stretch from Fort to Anik depot that includes P D’Mello Road; the second 5-km-phase from Anik to Panjarpol (Shivaji Square); and Panjarpol to Mankhurd and then to Ghatkopar on the Eastern Express Highway. Work on Phase 1 (and Phase 2 have already begun. The tunnels, which MMRDA engineers call the “missing link’’ as they are building a new road from scratch is on an important stretch of Phase 2 of the Eastern Freeway corridor between Anik Depot and Panjarpol, and is slated to be completed by June 2011. Work on the tunnels has already begun; around 100m has been dug out. Till date, the MMRDA has completed around 30% of the construction work, and has spent Rs 43 crore of the total Rs 221 crore, assigned to this phase of the corridor. Besides the tunnels, the construction of a flyover and a rail over bridge on this stretch is also under way. “We hope to meet the deadline of June 2011,’’ said superintending engineer of MMRDA Himanshu Shrimal. The tunnels will be similar to the ones on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. “The tunnels will cater to both north- and south-bound traffic,’’ said Shrimal. According to MMRDA sources there are around 800 families in the Govandi area need to be rehabilitated. However, the development authority is running behind schedule, and the earlier April 2001 deadline was recently extended to July. The tunnels have come as a surprise to residents in the BARC area who were initially puzzled to see trucks laden with debris going in and out of their gated colony. “It was only after we started making enquiries that we realised that they were making a tunnel as part of the new road between Anik and Panjarpol,’’ said Mahesh Gharat, a resident. Eastern Corridor It promises motorists a 30-35 minute ride from Fort in south Mumbai to Mankhurd via Chembur, and will eliminate around 28 signals

Total length : 22 km

Total cost :Rs 950 crore

PHASE 1 Colaba to Anik Depot A part of this road will be elevated along P D’Mello and Port Roads

Length : 12 km

Cost : Rs 531 crore

Money already spent : Rs 105 crore

Permission has to be granted for the acquisition of protected salt pan land

Work to be carried out includes : Widening and beautification of P D’Mello Road

A flyover at Carnac Bunder

Elevated road between Carnac Bunder and Wadi Bunder

Status : 40% of foundation work completed

Deadline : July 2011

PHASE 2 Anik to Panjarpol It will be a 6-lane road with a flyover, two 500 m tunnels & 4 bridges

Length : 5 km

Cost : Rs 221 crore

Money already spent : Rs 43 crore

The most challenging part of this phase is the construction of the tunnel below a hillock at BARC. Work has already begun .Of the 5,500 project-affected people, 600 families have to be rehabilitated

Status : 30% of the construction work on the road and tunnel has been completed

Deadline : June 2011

PHASE 3 Panjarpol (Shivaji Square) to Mankhurd, and from Mankhurd to Ghatkopar on the Eastern Express Highway

Length : 4.5 km

Cost : Rs 196 crore

This phase of the project will have a 20 metre elevated road above the metro rail at Shivaji Square (Panjarpol). There will also be an elevated four-lane road of 2.5 km.

Around 500 families have to be rehabilitated Status

Work on this phase has yet to begin

Deadline : June 2011

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