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Changing City: New underpass for signal-free traffic movement between Mumbai international airport and Western Express Highway

The underpass will provide hassle-free travel for those exiting the airport and wanting to go towards Dahisar. As per the new design, there will be no land acquisition, and the authorities would be saving a total of around Rs 351 crore for the project

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) that is responsible for the infrastructure development in the city’s metropolitan region has planned to construct a new underpass to provide signal free connectivity between CSMI and WEH.(Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

HA new underpass is coming up to provide signal-free connectivity between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMI) in Mumbai and Western Express Highway (WEH). It will provide hassle-free travel for those exiting the airport and going towards Dahisar.

A look at the project:

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) that is responsible for the infrastructure development in the city’s metropolitan region has planned to construct a new underpass to provide signal free connectivity between CSMI and WEH. It has floated a tender for appointing a contractor. The tender was invited after the authority revised the designs to cut the cost of the overall project. As per new designs, no land acquisition will be required for carrying out the project, savings Rs 301 crore which was for land acquisition.

Total project cost:

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Rs 60 crore (revised)

Orginal cost: Rs 111.04 crore, excluding Rs 301 crore for land acquisition.

Timeline:

Three years from the date of awarding the contract

Significance:

The project will eliminate taking a U-turn, which currently is the only option for travellers exiting the international airport. They have to first head towards the south-bound carriageway of the Western Express Highway and then take a U-turn below the Vile Parle flyover to access Dahisar-bound lanes.

Alignment:

A new two-lane, one-way part stilt viaduct and one-way part box underpass, will be built by raising the existing WEH for the traffic emerging from the Terminal 2 of the international airport and plying towards Dahisar side (northern side). There is a 250-metre-long cavity at the existing underpass on the highway and ascends at this specific point. This cavity will be filled by placing a box. The traffic up and down the highway will move above this box. The space created below the box will carry traffic from the airport towards Dahisar.

Scope of work:

– The construction of main right of way (ROW) and sacrificial walls for raising Western Express Highway.

– Raising emergency road of Mumbai international airport near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Statue.

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– Part widening of free left-turn road i.e., from Terminal 2 of international airport and plying towards Bandra side. (South side).

– Partial widening of pedestrian underpass of Airport Colony Road on the northern side.

– Improvement of roads within the area of Mumbai International Airport Limited and Airport Authority of India in flexible overlay.

– Horticulture and electrification works among others.

What MMRDA says:

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The authority has saved Rs 351 crore after redesigning the alignment for the underpass to connect Airport Junction (T2). Now very little land acquisition, if at all, is required where the cost will be minimal. Once the project is completed, it will provide hassle-free traffic movement for travellers exiting the airport and going towards Dahisar (northbound).

Project hurdle while floating tender:

In November, a new tender was floated. However, the MMRDA has received only one bid as the last date for tender submission was November 28. As per government resolution, if one bidder comes, the tender has to be recalled, and cannot be opened. But since the tender was called to ascertain the cost, now a file has been sent to the Chief Engineer’s office of MMRDA, asking to open the technical bids. This will help ascertain the cost. This is being done because the MMRDA had already appointed a contractor via tendering for the previous design. However, that contractor refused to work on lowered estimated cost (revised cost of Rs 60 crore with 10% cost escalation).

Describing the challenges in working at WEH where traffic constantly flows, the previous contractor refused to work at a reduced cost. However, those challenges cannot be added separately to the project cost and hence tender was called to find out the bidding cost. Accordingly, the first preference would have been given to the previous contractor for negotiation, and if he denies the contract would have been given to the new bidder. As only one bidder has turned up, a request has been made to allow the bid to be opened to ascertain the cost.

First published on: 02-12-2022 at 14:34 IST
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