Mumbai: Pillar Design Change Likely To Delay Opening Of Coastal Road Project By Seven Months


The deadline for opening up the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) may be pushed by seven months to June 2024, as reported by Hindustan Times.

The delay comes in the backdrop of design change of pillars to accommodate the demand of protesting fisherfolk from Worli Koliwada.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is executing the project has time and again claimed that the Coastal Road would be ready by November 2023.

The Project

The 10.58 km long coastal road will connect Nariman Point in South Mumbai with the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) at Worli through a series of roads and underground tunnels.

The coastal road is being built on reclaimed land with an aim to decongest traffic and will be constructed in two parts.

Mumbai Coastal Road Project Alignment (BMC)

The Southern Part is from Princess Street flyover to the South End of Bandra Worli Sea Link and is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 12,500 crores. A total of 70 per cent work has been completed on the South part as of 30 January 2023.

The Northern Part would be from the North End of Bandra Worli Sea Link to Kandivali Junction. Work on this stretch is yet to commence.

Fishermen Demand

The BMC is constructing a traffic interchange at Worli to connect MCRP with BWSL. The interchange will be an elevated structure, which would come up on pillars constructed in the shallow waters of the sea.

The MCRP project team had initially recommended the gap between each pillar to be kept around 60 m which was opposed by the members of the fisherfolk community from the Cleveland Bunder, an artisan fishing port in the Koliwada.

The community of fisherfolk asserted that the Bunder’s shallow waters with rocks would make it arduous to navigate their boats through such a brief span, and that tidal waves could harm their vessels.

Consequently, they urged the width of the span to be extended to 200 metre. However, the BMC declined, which resulted in protests and halted work for several months.

In December 2022, the controversy was ultimately settled, with the BMC consenting to provide a 120-metre span for the fisherfolk’s boats, an increase from the previous promise of 60 metre.

Design Change

The chief engineer of the Coastal Road project had said that the navigation span of 120 metre will be only between pillars 7-9, while it will be 60 metre for the remaining pillars.

However, to create a 120-m wide navigational span, pillar number 8 had to be removed which necessitated the design change.

“Since construction of one pillar was cancelled, the load from that portion will go on to the pillars on each side. Hence, both these new pillars have to be redesigned to bear 1.5 times the weight from its original capacity,” said a BMC official.

The civic body subsequently appointed two consultants to finalise the new design of the pillars and decide on a new timeline for executing the project.

The end result has been that quite a significant time from the construction season (non-monsoon season) is already lost and project deadlines will be pushed by nearly seven months.

On Backfoot

Earlier on 28 February, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had told the legislative assembly that the Coastal Road project is likely to be delayed, but had not specified by how long.

“Due to the change in the project as a result of widening of the distance between pillars, there may be additional cost and delay to complete the project. Apart from the increase in the distance in those pillars the rest of the work has to be completed in time. We want to complete the rest of the work,” Shinde said while replying to questions raised by MLAs Ajit Pawar, Chagan Bhujbal, and others.

In the case of the increase in the distance between pillars, the proposal given by the contractor will be scrutinised by the BMC’s consultant based on the terms and conditions of the contract. The BMC is trying to get the work done in minimal additional cost and limited time,” he added.

Shinde did not specify the exact quantum of delay or if the November 2023 deadline has been extended.