Coastal Road project will be functional by July 2023, says BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal

Sharing the status of the ambitious eight-lane Coastal Road project, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Monday informed that nearly 17 per cent work on the project is complete so far.

The 29.2 km-long Coastal Road project has been undertaken by the Shiv Sena-led BMC to connect Marine Drive in south Mumbai to Borivali in north Mumbai with a view to ease traffic woes in Mumbai. Elaborating on the progress of the Rs 12,721 crore project, Chahal confidently said, after facing several hurdles and delays in the past couple of month, the road will be "functional in July 2023".

Started in October 2018, the project was earlier targeted to be completed by 2022, but it got delayed first due to the litigation and then due to the hundreds of workers leaving for their native places when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak.

The project work was stopped after the Bombay High Court in July 2019 quashed the Coastal Road Zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the project. The work resumed in December 2019 after the Supreme Court stayed the HC's order.

"Substantial work has been done in the last couple of months with an expenditure of Rs 1,281 crore till November 2020. Nearly 17 per cent work of the project work has been completed till now. About 175 acres of land has so far been reclaimed from the Arabian Sea for the project and another 102 acres is being reclaimed," Chahal said.

A 400 metre-long tunnel boring machine of 39.6 feet diameter, which is the largest in India now, has been fully assembled on the reclaimed land and tunnel boring will commence from January 7, 2021, he added.

The machine, named Mavala, is going to build twin tunnels of 1,920-metre length between Marine Lines and Priyadarshini Park in south Mumbai.

On December 7, 2020, the BMC officials unveiled the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) and stated that tunnel boring work would begin by December 15.

However, a senior civic official said that the assembling of the TBM consumed more time than they expected, due to which they faced a slight delay. The TBM was brought to Mumbai from China earlier in April this year. Due to its large size, the machine was dismantled into smaller parts and was brought to the Priyadarshini Park launch site in trucks.

"We are reassembling the TBM before launching it into operation. The machine is huge in size and it is taking time to get it ready," the official said. The tunnel will have two lanes for vehicular movement. The engineers will use the TBM for digging the first tunnel from Priyadarshini Park to Girgaon, following which the TBM will be dismantled and relaunched again for digging the second lane of the tunnel from Girgaon to Priyadarshini Park.

"Digging of each tunnel will take around nine months. Also, we are keeping a buffer six months in hand for the dismantling and relaunch operations," the official added.

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