Mumbai’s most ambitious road project to decongest the city and provide relief from traffic marked a huge milestone today with the completion of the excavation of the first tunnel connecting the iconic Marine Drive to Priyadarshini Park. The tunnel passes under Malabar Hill, home to India’s rich and famous. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray joined the occasion through video conferencing.
The twin tunnels of the coastal road will pass under Malabar Hill. India’s largest 12.19-meter diameter tunnels are being constructed 20 metres below the shore of the Arabian Sea and 70 metres below Malabar Hill. It has three lanes for transportation for south and north-bound traffic. One of the lanes is proposed to be reserved for emergency transport. The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which is being used for building this tunnel has been named ‘Mavala’.
Excavation of the First Tunnel from Priyadarshani Park to Girgaon Chowpatty in Mumbai Coastal Road Project will be completed by India’s largest TBM Machine ‘Mawla’.#WatchLive | https://t.co/nJ62GWmUMP
— माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC (@mybmc) January 10, 2022
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose dream project this is, said, “I am proud of the team today. I remember the day we started it. In between, we saw storms and the second wave of Covid and yet you kept the work going. This was an impossible project, and I am glad you made it a reality. In 1995, we built 55 flyovers and now we have embarked on this Coastal Road project. The BMC will complete the project on time.”
Guardian Minister for Mumbai Suburbs Aaditya Thackeray tweeted, “On 11th January 2021, CM Uddhav Thackeray ji launched India’s biggest Tunnel Boring Machine ‘Mavala’ to dig an underpass for the Mumbai Coastal Road, setting in motion an engineering magnificence. Today, just a day short of a year, we now behold the fruit of this vision.”
On 11th January 2021, CM Uddhav Thackeray ji launched India’s biggest Tunnel Boring Machine ‘Mawla’ to dig an underpass for the Mumbai Coastal Road, setting in motion an engineering magnificence. Today, just a day short of a year, we now behold the fruit of this vision. pic.twitter.com/rKC77p0UV8
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) January 10, 2022
“We witnessed the completion (excavation) of the 1st Tunnel from Priyadarshini Park towards Marine Drive. It was truly the most incredible moment! I thank all the BMC officials & engineers who’ve been working day & night to turn this dream project into a reality,” he added.
The objective of the Coastal Road project is to provide an alternate North-South Trunk route for the people of Mumbai which provides improved mobility to relieve the traffic congestion in the city. It will also create much-needed recreational public open spaces and greenery as an example of sustainable development.
“The excavation for the second Tunnel will commence in April 2022. The Mumbai Coastal Road is making great strides, and we are committed to completing it by December 2023 and proudly opening it in the service of Mumbaikars,” Aditya Thackeray added.
The project has seen some hiccups with fishermen in Worli protesting against the construction of an interchange between the coastal road and Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), demanding change in the alignment of the interchange. In response to the protests, the BMC says that the navigation span of the interchange should be kept at a maximum of 30.4 metres for double carriage, but the Mumbai Coastal Road project is providing a navigational span of 60 metres, double than what is mandated. Aaditya Thackeray, the MLA representing Worli, has also held a virtual meeting with the community to iron out the issues.
The CM assured that the coastal road project will be completed on time. The next stretch from Bandra to Versova is being handled by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. The BMC is spending Rs 12,721 crore on this project and the road will be toll-free. It is expected to be completed next year.