Work Begins On Mumbai's Coastal Road, Phase 1 To Be Ready By 2023
Work on the first phase of the Mumbai Coastal Road project, a proposed 29-kilometre freeway running along the western coastline, has begun. While the ambitious infrastructure project had already received an in-principle approval from the Bombay High Court in 2017 and a slew of clearances later from various government departments recently, the bidding process took almost three years before the construction could start. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2023. Once completed, the project will redefine the way people will commute within the city and make Mumbai more prominent on the world map, quite literally.
Here are quick facts about the freeway:
Length: The freeway will span a total length of 29 kilometres with the first phase covering 9.98 kilometres.
Phases: Likely to be ready by 2023, the phase 1 or the south section will run from Princess Street Flyover near Marine Lines to the south-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) while the phase 2 or the north section will end at Kandivali in northwest Mumbai. There are plans to extend the road till Marve and Ghodbunder Road.
Estimated Cost: The total cost of the development has been projected at Rs 15,000 crore.
Features: The project plan had undergone a transformation from initially being just a bypass route to an 8-lane multi-modal transport route with bridges, bus rapid transit system corridors across 2 lanes, (BRTS), a 3.4-km tunnel (from Khar Danda to Juhu) and interchanges at various locations like Haji Ali, Worli, Breach Candy Hospital and Bandra. Moreover, there will be public spaces such as cycle tracks, promenades, pedestrian underpass or foot overbridges at every 500 metres, advanced parking facilities and recreational zones.
The first phase will be built in three packages at a total cost of Rs 6000-7000 crore for which the BMC invited bids and around 17 firms had expressed their interest.
The section from Haji Ali to Worli-end of BWSL will be developed by a joint venture between Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and Hyundai Development Corporation.
- The 3.6-km route from Priyadarshani Park to Baroda Palace will be developed by CGGC (China Gezhouba Group Company Limited), a consortium of Dogus, Reliance Infra and NMDC; and another JV of ITDC and HEC.
- The contract for building the 2.7-km stretch from Baroda Palace to Worli Sea Face was won by a JV of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and HCC.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is the nodal agency for the three packages while the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDC) is developing the Bandra-Versova sea link part of the project.
What was the debate about?
The project was faced with opposition right from the day it was proposed in 2011 by then Chief Minister who wanted the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to consider the feasibility of building coastal roads rather than separate yet expensive sea links. Environmentalists were against the project and mainly worried about the removal of several mangrove patches and forests land in the process. Some experts have also said that such roads might impact tidal circulation.
While the BMC claims to redevelop green spaces spanning as much as 91 hectares (with 70 hectares in phase 1) area, the reclamation of 1.3 hectares of mangrove forests is a reality flashing before the eyes. Moreover, 186 hectares of land (with 90 hectares in phase 1) will be reclaimed for the project. These concerns are also echoed by the collective voices of activists, transport experts and urban planners who feel such a project is an expensive proposition catering to just 1.2 per cent of private vehicle-owning population. Some architects and urban planners feel this will be an apparent danger to the city coastline and the overall beauty of the island city.
But looking at the brighter side, an integrated transport system benefitting the public-transport-using population is the need of the hour. The project will soon kickstart with the BMC receiving clearances from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) as well as from the Fisheries Department, Coastal Management Department, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Coastal Police.
For a shrinking city such as Mumbai, the pressure on infrastructure is much more than ever before which is why the strategic position of being near to the sea along with a vast coastline could seamlessly be leveraged. Those favouring the project strongly pitch for this world-class coastal road plan, which would ease connectivity across the city by serving as a ring road.
The realty impact of the project
The government is optimistic that the proposed infrastructure will bolster the creation of several central business districts (CBDs) around the corridor. It will also open avenues for many investment and housing opportunities as more land parcels will be unlocked for real estate developments. Aimed at decongesting the western express highway, the coastal road will also link the Ahmedabad Highway via Mira Bhayender Road. The micro-markets which are most likely to see good results include Mira Road, Bhayandar, Bandra, Versova, to name a few.