While the price tags of major transport infrastructure projects are generally only known to surge on account of design changes and delays, in a rare instance, the cost of an elevated road between the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and the Eastern Express Highway has dipped by nearly Rs 60 crore. A tweak in the project design has helped the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) bring its cost down by 22 per cent.
The MMRDA, the agency implementing the project, went over the designs of the proposed 1.6-km connector from the G Block of BKC to near Somaiya Ground on the Eastern Express Highway. After making various design alterations without effecting a change in the scope of the project, the development authority has brought down the cost of the project from Rs 261 crore to Rs 203 crore.
An MMRDA official who did not wish to be named said, “We reviewed the design and have effected several small changes in it. Most of the cost reduction is on account of one major change. Earlier, for the elevated road to cross the Mithi River we had planned a single long span that was adding to the cost. Now, we have decided to have several smaller spans to cross the river.”
A span refers to the length of a slab being placed between two pillars of a bridge. The official said the MMRDA had originally planned for one span of 260 metres, but has now changed the design to have about five spans of 55 metres each.
The development authority had planned a longer span due to concerns over the hydraulic flow of the Mithi River. However, the Pune-based Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) on studying the design advised the MMRDA that it is possible to have shorter spans and this has been done in other similar projects elsewhere without impacting the hydraulics of the water body, the MMRDA official said.
The elevated road has been planned to make the business district of BKC more accessible from the eastern suburbs, Navi Mumbai and Thane and thus reduce congestion on the Sion-Dharavi Link Road and the Kalanagar junction.
At present, it takes over 30 minutes to travel from the Eastern Express Highway in Sion to the Bandra Kurla Complex. The elevated road, which will take approximately three years to build once construction starts, will cut this travel time to around five minutes. The road will go over the Mahim Nature Park, LBS Marg, cross railway lines half a kilometre north of Sion station and over the Chunabhatti railway crossing.
On the request of potential bidders, the MMRDA has also extended the last date for submission of tenders for this project from June 30 to July 4.