The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will start work next month on a connector from the Eastern Express Highway to the Bandra Kurla Complex that will enable commuters from the eastern suburbs to travel to the business district within five minutes. The road, which will partially help east-west commuters too, will also decongest the narrow Sion-Dharavi link road.
“The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) had cleared the project in its last meeting, but we are still awaiting the finalization of the minutes before we begin work. There is likely to be a meeting by the end of this month after which we can begin work,” said U P S Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA. The project requires an MCZMA clearance as it would cross the Mithi River.
Madan said once the construction begins, the project will take two years to be completed. The 1.6-km connector will begin from the G Block of the Bandra Kurla Complex and ramp down at the Somaiya Ground in Chunabhatti off the Eastern Express Highway. “We are still talking to the Somaiya Trust. They have agreed to part with the land required for the project. However, we are yet to finalise the compensation amount,” he said.
Besides, there was also the issue of a cluster of about 50 shanties that will need to be razed and the occupants rehabilitated for the project. The MMRDA has written to the Dharavi Redevelopment Project Authority and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) requesting the agencies to include the rehabilitation of these families in the overall revamp plan for Dharavi. The patch of land falls in Dharavi’s Sector 5, which is the first sector of the slum sprawl that the earlier Congress-NCP government had taken up for redevelopment.
At present, it takes over 30 minutes to travel from the Eastern Express Highway in Sion to the Bandra Kurla Complex. The elevated road, which will cut travel time between these points to 5 minutes, will go over the Mahim Nature Park, LBS Marg, cross railway lines half-a-kilometre north of Sion station and over the Chunabhatti railway crossing.
The MMRDA has applied for a clearance from the Central Railway for constructing over railway tracks and has also planned an internal connector at Chunabhatti to close the railway crossing there.