From November, the city’s development authority expects to begin trial runs on the second phase of the monorail corridor, which will extend the line to Jacob Circle near Wadala and make the transportation mode, currently viewed as a short 8.8-km joyride, more useful for commuters. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has now completed nearly 85 pe rcent of the total work on the 11.3-km Wadala-Jacob Circle.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, said, “All right of way issues have been resolved now. Until recently, the only problem that remained was the construction of infrastructure around a monorail station near the Spring Mill chawl in Naigaon. The building is very old and was thought to be too weak to withstand the impact of construction activity. Hence we were in talks with the residents to vacate the structure. However, we recently got a structural audit done that has found the building to be safe. We will now proceed with the construction there.”
Most of the pending work is now concentrated on the stretches where the Monorail will cross the suburban railway line at Wadala and Currey Road. The Central Railway gave clearance to construct over suburban railway lines in November last year, after sending the proposal back and forth for over three years. Work on the underground piers has started and the MMRDA is now in the process of getting the launching plans to install the guideway beams, on which the Monorail runs, approved from railway authorities. Of the ten stations on the Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail line, the MMRDA has completed the civil work, which is the basic construction of the structure, for four continuous stations after the first phase. These are GTB Nagar, Antophill, Wadala Bridge and Acharya Atre Nagar.
Besides, almost 80 per cent of the work on the other six stations has been completed, an MMRDA official said.
The Monorail in Mumbai has received a tepid response so far despite it having been launched with much ado in February last year and projected as a major achievement of the previous Congress-NCP government. The trains on the first phase from Chembur to Wadala, built at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore, are at most times seen running with lean passenger traffic. The corridor, the daily ridership of which ranges from anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 commuters, has so far failed to attract a sizeable number of regular commuters. Officials have time and again said that the real impact of the monorail will be felt once the entire corridor from Chembur to Jacob Circle, costing a total of Rs 3,000 crore, is made functional as it will connect the transportation hub of Dadar and commercial district of Lower Parel.As per original ridership estimates, around 1.25 lakh passengers are expected to use the monorail on the entire corridor.