The Coastal Road project will transform Mumbai’s western shoreline. TOI studied four project sites between Nariman Point and Worli to create visual representations of the changes likely to take place within four years. This is the first of the series
More than a hundred years after it was built, the iconic sweep of Marine Drive is set for its biggest change since the Princess Street flyover was built in 1964. Work has begun on the southern end of the BMC’s ambitious Coastal Road project which will run almost 10km from Marine Drive to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
At Marine Drive, the project will take over a kilometre of the current 3.6km waterfront promenade. A portion of the C-shaped promenade from the traffic signal near Wankhede Stadium south of Princess Street flyover will be used up for a two-lane road for north-bound traffic entering the tunnel that is part of the project. To compensate for the loss of pedestrian space, the promenade stretching eight to ten metres wide and a km long will be rebuilt by extending it out on a bridge, said officials.
The promenade will run parallel to the Coastal Road on the seaward side and then go over the tunnel near Charni Road station to continue northwards along its existing alignment. Officials said this new boardwalk will mean the Marine Drive seafront promenade will remain a continuous walkway from the NCPA to Girgaum Chowpatty. No existing pedestrian crossings will be affected, they said.
The new promenade will be built on a cantilever bridge to allow waves to flow under without crashing against the wall of the structure. The sea will not wash over the new promenade and road as it does now during monsoon high tides.
Officials said that to ensure there is no inconvenience to walkers, they will construct the cantilever bridge before taking over the existing promenade. Marine Drive is one of the most popular stretches for walkers and joggers in south Mumbai as well as families on a night out.
There is still much debate on the merits of the project, which will cost upwards of Rs 12,000 crore. Critics say it is meant to serve the interests of a small section of the car-owning population, but the government believes it will serve future needs, including public transport by means of a rapid transit system.
On the northbound side, the Coastal Road will start on Marine Drive near Wankhede Stadium. Near Charni Road station, two lanes will dip into the tunnel to run under Malabar Hill. At the same point on the other side of the road, two lanes for southbound traffic will emerge from the tunnel onto the existing service road outside Wilson Gymkhana. A portion of the service road, as well as the footpath outside the gymkhana grounds, will be taken over for the project, said, officials. A 6.6-metre-wide road will remain for use as a one-lane service road and a footpath.
The contractors for the project are Larsen & Toubro (Princess Street flyover to Priyadarshani Park, including the tunnel) and a joint venture of HCC and Hyundai Development Corporation (Breach Candy till the Worli-end of the sea link).
Civic contractors have already barricaded the area at Girgaum and started work to construct a shaft near Chowpatty for a tunnel boring machine expected to arrive in September.