Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while launching India’s biggest tunnel boring machine (TBM) to be used in the ambitious coastal road project, said on Monday that his government will win the “battle of Mumbai’s development” like it had successfully tackled the Covid-pandemic 19.
Thackeray’s statement comes in the backdrop of BJP calling Shiv Sena an “anti-development party” over the shifting of the Metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg, leading to delay in the completion of the project.
India’s biggest TBM has been christened ‘Mavala’ after the infantry warriors in the army of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji. it will be deployed to dig 3.4-km-long tunnels as part of the coastal road project – a 22.2-km long freeway that would run along Mumbai’s western coastline, connecting Marine Lines in the south to Kandivali in the north.
“The BMC’s work against Covid-19 has been acknowledged worldwide. Likewise, we will definitely win the battle of development. For this, we will ensure that our tradition of bringing the world’s best technology and science (for development) continues,” Thackeray said.
He added, “The coastal road will further connect to Bandra Sealink, reducing traffic. The BMC has done outstanding planning in executing the project. Despite the pandemic, work on the coastal road continued. In 1995, we had constructed 55 flyovers in Mumbai. This was not enough and a coastal road connecting the city was needed. It will prove to be beneficial in reducing traffic in central Mumbai, as motorists can directly reach south Mumbai from the other end of the city.”
According to the BMC, TBM Mavala is 12.15 m in diameter and will drill a 2.07-km long twin tunnel under Malabar Hill and sea near Girgaon Chowpattty. Both the tunnels will pass 10 m to 70 m below to connect Princess Street Flyover to Priyadarshani Park.
The BMC has completed over 20 per cent work on the 10.58-km coastal road project, estimated to cost Rs 12,721 crore. So far, Rs 1,300 crore has been spent on the construction work.
Officials said that tunneling will take 18 months. “First 600 m of the tunnel on the Malabar Hill side requires digging through basalt rock. The TBM will drill 8 to 10 m daily. It was brought to Mumbai from China last April. However, work was delayed due to Covid-19,” said an official, adding that the coastal road project is expected to be completed by mid-2023.
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