Mumbai coastal road: Maha CM launches tunnel boring machine

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Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday launched a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), touted as the biggest in India, for the Mumbai Coastal Road Project.

The TBM will dig nearly 4-km-long tunnels as part of the ambitious Coastal Road project--an under construction 22.2-km long freeway that would run along Mumbai's western coastline connecting Marine Lines in the south to Kandivali in the north.

The tunnels are expected to be ready by June 2022, a senior civic official said.

'CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray launched 'Mavla', the biggest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) in India. This massive TBM will undertake tunnel boring work for the Mumbai Coastal Road Project beginning from Priyadarshini Park to the Princess Street flyover,' the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) tweeted.

Soldiers of 17th Century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were called as 'mavlas'.

While addressing the TBM launch function, Thackeray recalled that the erstwhile Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra built 55 flyovers in Mumbai to ease traffic woes of citizens after coming to power for the first time in 1995.

'Now even those bridges are proving inadequate. But the Coastal Road will be useful as the people from suburbs will directly be able to travel to south Mumbai without facing the city traffic,' he said.

He said the Sena had conceived this sea route before 2012. 'The idea was that this would be the only sea link connecting the Bandra-Worli sea link,' the CM added.

'Mumbai will win the fight for its development after the megapolis emerged successful in its battle against COVID- 19. Mumbai did such a job in the fight against COVID-19 that the world should take a note of it. Similarly, we will be ahead in the development of Mumbaikars too,' Thackeray said.

The TBM has a diameter of 12.19 metres, 'the largest in the country,' the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a statement.

'There will be 400-metre-long tunnels beneath the sea on the coastal road project and the TBM will help drill those.

The two tunnels, 2.07 km-long each, will be 10 metres to 70 metres deep sub-surface. 20 per cent of the total project work has been completed till now,' it said.

The proposed Coastal Road will have a 4+4 lane configuration comprising roads based on reclamation, besides bridges, elevated roads and tunnels, the Mumbai civic body said.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials, once completed, the Coastal Road will cut down the travel time between south and north Mumbai, decongest existing roads and reduce the air and noise pollution levels.

Besides, public transport service will improve through a dedicated BRTS and much-needed additional green spaces will be generated.

'For speedy execution, the project is divided into three packages between Priyadarshini Park to Baroda Palace (Package-I), Baroda Palace to the South-end of Bandra Worli Sea Link (Package-II), and Princess Street Flyover to Priyadarshini Park (Package-IV). The twin tunnels, which are part of the package-IV will be bored using the TBM,' officials said.

These tunnels will be bored between Priyadarshani Park and Chhota Chowpatty at Marine drive.

The length of each tunnel is 2.07 kilometres and it will take 9 months to dig out a tunnel and 18 months for both, they said, adding that three lanes will be constructed in each tunnel for traffic.

'By June 202, both the tunnels will be completed. The work of the first tunnel is expected to be completed by August-September (in 2021),' BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahalsaid on the occasion. PTI KK/ENM NSK NSK