ĎGame-changerí freeway likely to open by March-end

Nearly five years after work started, the construction of the Eastern Freeway, which the city's development authority claims to be a "game-changer" for Mumbai's traffic, is now in its final stages with just five spans yet to be launched.

According to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the final span on the road will be launched on February 7, while the freeway is expected to be opened to traffic by the end of March or the first week of April.

MMRDA had earlier drawn up a schedule to finish the launching activity by January 15 and was looking at commissioning the road for traffic by January-end. It had to launch segments on 313 spans on the Eastern Freeway.

"There was a slight delay due to high-tension wires of Tata Power, which had to be removed. We have now finished shifting the cables and launching has resumed," said Rahul Asthana, metropolitan commissioner at MMRDA.

The Eastern Freeway will be a 9.3-km elevated road from Orange Gate to Anik in Wadala. It will join the under-construction link road between Anik to Panjarpol near R K Studios in Chembur. This 5-km Anik-Panjarpol link road will join the proposed 2.5-km Panjarpol-Ghatkopar link road, thereby providing seamless connectivity from south Mumbai to Ghatkopar.

As of now, MMRDA plans to commission the elevated Eastern Freeway till Anik and four lanes of the Anik-Panjarpol link road, which will have the first set of urban tunnels in the country.

The other four lanes of the eight-lane Anik Panjarpol link road and the next arm, the Panjarpol-Ghatkopar link road, will be commissioned a few months later.

"On the Anik-Panjarpol link road, the construction of the portion between the tunnel and Shivaji chowk in Chembur is still underway. The first tunnel, which will be opened to traffic as part of the four lanes of the Anik-Panjarpol link road, is nearly ready and will be completed in the next four-five days," Asthana said. "All in all, March-end looks feasible," he added.

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