August 2, 2021 1:23:09 am
After a delay of over three years, the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road (GMLR) flyover was thrown open to the public Sunday. The flyover, one of the costliest so far, will ease the commute from the eastern part of the city to Navi Mumbai.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who inaugurated the 2.9-km flyover Sunday, praised the civic corporation for completing the work amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“Earlier, even I did not feel like passing through this stretch. But now with the construction of this flyover complete, it will help motorists bypass the traffic below. I just have a small request that BMC should improve the surfacing of the road,” Thackeray said.
The flyover is expected to reduce the travel time by 25 minutes on the congested Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road, especially on Baiganwadi Junction at Shivaji Nagar, by connecting it to the road leading towards Vashi. It connects Sion-Panvel Highway and Eastern Express highway, bypassing five junctions and three nullahs.
The naming of the flyover had been marred by controversy after Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale had demanded it to be named after Sufi saint Khwaja Gareeb Nawaj Moinnidin Chisti. BJP’s Manoj Kotak had opposed the move and sought it to be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
While on July 29, a proposal was cleared by the BMC’s works committee meeting to name it after Shivaji Maharaj, the name of the flyover was not used in the speech by Thackeray on Sunday. The BMC also avoided using the name of the flyover in its official invite and press releases.
Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar, MPs Manoj Kotak (BJP) and Rahul Shewale (Shiv Sena), cabinet minister Nawab Malik (NCP), and SP corporator Rais Shaikh along with the municipal commissioner IS Chahal and additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu were present at the event.
On the occasion, Thackeray also praised BMC for its Covid management and the ‘Mumbai Model’. “The Covid-19 did slow down the progress on various development work in the city, however, now the construction work has resumed in the city and has picked up speed, including this flyover, and Coastal Road work,” Thackeray said.
The flyover’s construction was started in 2016. In February 2020, a proposal of cost escalation and deadline extension for the work was cleared by the BMC’s standing committee. The cost of the project went up to Rs 713 crore from the initial Rs 576 crore. The original deadline was January 2019.
The BMC had also imposed a fine of Rs 40 lakh on the contractor for the delay.
After the inauguration, Aaditya Thackeray tweeted: “This connector faced a lot of technical & practical hurdles in the past few years. After taking over as Guardian Minister, I had made it a mission to ensure we open it to people at the earliest to mitigate traffic woes… Now, we also will be looking into better traffic management and aesthetics below the flyover.”
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