Finally, railway nod for taking link road over Kurla tracks

After dithering on the proposal for over five years and changing designs four times, the Central Railway has given a final nod to take the showpiece Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR) over the suburban railway tracks at Kurla.

The Central Railway's approval clears the last major hurdle in the construction of the 6.45-km east-west connector, which has been under construction for nine years and is regarded as one of the most delayed projects. The six-lane, six-storey high road will have the city's first double-deck bridge.

"It is a major boost for the project, but the approval has come with a rider. The Central Railway says we cannot start work before the monsoon is over, which means we will have to wait for October to start the construction over the tracks," said an engineer from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, the implementing agency for the project.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for the project, had first approached CR about five years ago for permission to build a 50.9-metre bridge over the main line and a 39-metre viaduct over the harbour line.

"We have got approval for the construction methodology and the launching scheme for the bridge over the harbour line, but launching scheme for the main line is yet to be approved. Our piers for the bridge are not ready yet. We expect to have the launching scheme approved by the time we are ready to start construction there," said SVR Srinivas, additional metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA.

However, the Central Railway's condition of starting work on the bridges over the tracks only after monsoon indicates that the SCLR could miss the sixth deadline of June 2013 set for the project. "The bridge over the main line is likely to take about a year to construct. We will have to work according to the railway blocks and are likely to get just about two or three hours on Sundays. The rest of the SCLR, excluding the railway bridges, will be complete by February or March next year," the MSRDC engineer said.

Other than the Central Railway approvals, the project had been delayed owing to several reasons, including the shifting of nearly 3,500 commercial and residential structures and eight religious structures.

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