Mumbai: By mid-2027, a tunnel will connect the Eastern Freeway with the Coastal Road in south Mumbai. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) floated a bid on Saturday for this two-plus-two lane tunnel, also called ‘twin tunnel’.
Estimated to cost Rs 6,327 crore, this underground corridor will cut travel time to minutes from hours. Officials in the know said it will take motorists 6-8 minutes from the Coastal Road on Marine Drive to the Eastern Freeway at Orange Gate and vice versa.
The tunnel is part of the traffic dispersal plan
Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, SVR Srinivas said, “This tunnel is part of the traffic dispersal plan from the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link towards Navi Mumbai. Our studies show there will be considerable traffic towards Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Colaba, Fort and Cuffe Parade.” The other traffic dispersal plan is the Sewri-Worli Elevated Road, the construction of which is underway.
When ready, this 3.1km tunnel will be the longest underground road in Mumbai. It will cross the Central and Western Railway lines as well as the underground Metro line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ), which criss-crosses the metropolis at a depth of 25-27 metres. The tunnel will go further below the Metro line at a depth of 30 metres.
As widening of the existing roads was not an option, the alternatives left were an elevated road or going below the surface. As there are heritage structures in south Mumbai, including the Marine Drive precinct which is a UNESCO world heritage spot, the idea of a flyover had to be shelved.
The alignment of the elevated road or tunnel is roughly below the existing Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Road. The road here is narrow, with about a century-old buildings along the way. It involves acquisition of buildings and land that is part of prime real estate and also making it a time consuming task.
The third reason for opting to go underground was, that an elevated road would have obstructed the passage of taller Ganesh idols to Girgaum Chowpatty.
2 + 2 Lanes
Longest underground road in Mumbai
Will cross Central and Western Railway lines
Will also cross the underground Metro line 3
Metro depth is 25-27 metres
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