Even as the fate of the much-delayed Worli-Haji Aji sea link remains to be decided,the agency in charge of the project implementation has started a fresh technical and financial feasibility study for the next arm of the link between Haji Aji and Nariman Point.
The consultant,Arup Consulting Engineers,is studying the stretch for a sea link from Haji Ali to Priyadarshini Park,followed by a tunnel under Malabar Hill to Tambe chowk opposite Wilson College and a shallow tunnel along Marine Drive. This was the proposed alignment approved by the state government in February 2010 when Ashok Chavan was the chief minister.
The consultants started work two months ago. They are currently carrying out a geotechnical investigation,but the work has slowed down due to monsoon. The complete report,including the technical and financial details,will be ready by December, said an engineer with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). We intend to keep the report ready whether or not the MSRDC board decides to go ahead with the project.
The engineer said the tunnel from Priyadarshni Park to Tambe Chowk,running nearly 30 m underground,would be constructed using the blasting technique,while the shallow tunnel would require cut-and-cover method,where a trench is excavated and roofed over. It is cost-effective,but requires a strong overhead support system to carry the load on the covering material,he added.
Meanwhile,there is still no formal decision on whether the Worli-Haji sea link project is going to be scrapped. In June 2010,the MSRDC had signed a concession agreement with Reliance Infrastructure to build the sea link,but the project was stalled due to differences between the two parties.
Also,the decision on a proposed coastal road around Mumbai is awaited. In a detailed report,it was recommended that the stretch from Nepean Sea Road to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli sea link be built on reclaimed land with a 300-m span bridge around the Samudra Mahal building or the Baroda Palace near Haji Ali. That proposal ignored the existing plan for two sea links.
The coastal road will take time to be implemented,considering it is yet to get clearances. The CM has said the issue of the Worli-Haji Ali sea link would be decided by the MSRDC. We will take a decision soon on whether to scrap the contract with Reliance Infrastructure and build the link on our own taking into account a recent report by a mediator, a senior official said.