The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will begin tunnel boring work for the Mumbai Coastal Road project on January 7, Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal said on Monday.
The slurry-based Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), said to be the largest tunnel boring machine deployed in India yet, will be used for tunnelling a 3.45-km-long twin, undersea tunnel from Priyadarshini Park at Malabar Hill to Girgaum Chowpatty. So far, the BMC has completed the assembling of the machine at the Priyadarshini Park site.
“Substantial work has happened in the last couple of months; 17 per cent of the physical work stands completed and the said coastal road will be functional in July 2023,” Chahal said.
As of November, the BMC has spent Rs 1,281 crore on the first phase of the coastal road project of the estimated total cost of Rs 12,721 crore.
The BMC had set a target to commence the tunnelling work in October this year. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions and tensions between India and China, the tunnelling work for the underground section of the coastal road was delayed.
According to data with the BMC, the civic body has, so far, reclaimed 175 acre – about 70 hectare of land – from under the Arabian Sea.
Earlier, the civic body had applied for a clearance to reclaim 90 hectare for the first phase of the coastal road. However, it revised its requirement for reclaimed lands and submitted an application to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) in October to amend the its 2017 Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance and reclaim an additional 21 hectare for the project. This includes 6.5 hectare for the road and another 14.5 hectare for building a sea wall and a rubble mound structure as protection measures to prevent erosion from extreme sea waves and storm surge.
In October 2018, the BMC had started work on the first phase of the project from Marine Drive in South Mumbai until the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, estimated to have cost Rs 12,721 crore.
The civic body had originally hoped to complete the first phase of the coastal road by 2022. However, the pet project of Shiv Sena and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was stalled for over six months after the Bombay High Court, in July 2019, had quashed the CRZ clearance granted for the project and directed the BMC to get an environment clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006. The construction work only began after the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for the project in December 2019.
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