How Will Coastal Road Project Change Mumbai Real Estate?
Updated on July 12, 2017
The Bombay High Court has granted an in-principle approval to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's ambitious Coastal Road project. This approval will pave the way for the collector to hand over the foreshore land to the BMC. The civic authority needed an approval of the committee for the construction of a 500-m stretch of the Coastal Road, from Chota Chowpatty till Princess Street flyover. This stretch falls within the Marine Drive area, which is a heritage precinct.
The bottlenecks were aplenty. Environmentalists and civic activists aggressively opposed Mumbai's Coastal Road Project, not only because it “would impact the environment adversely”, but also for various other reasons. They claimed it would promote private vehicle ownership and benefit just a few, even as the eight-lane link from Nariman Point to Kandiwali along the west coast will destroy the city's marine life and affect the community of local fishermen.
While the process to address the opponents' concerns went on, the government amended the Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification, 2011, to allow reclamation for the project. The Union environment & forests ministry gave Maharashtra go-ahead to reclaim land for construction by issuing a notification in this regard. The body responsible for carrying out the civic work, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, stepped up the work and appointed Frischmann Prabhu, an arm of UK-based engineering consultancy firm Pell Frischmann, to review the project. In April this year, the BMC invited bids to start work for the first phase, which might take two years to complete.
A combination of underground tunnels, bridges and elevated roads, the 34-km long project will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore, and will have the following four stretches:
Stretch 1: A 3.4-km underground tunnel from the Princess Street flyover (Nariman Point) to Priyadarshini Park (Bandra), to be built at a cost of Rs 640.5 crore.
Stretch 2: A 3.8-km bridge from Priyadarshini Park to Baroda Palace (Worli) at a cost of Rs 1,540.2 crore.
Stretch 3: A 2.7-km long stretch from Baroda Palace to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link at a cost of Rs 757.8 crore.
Stretch 4: A 4.3-km stretch from Bandra end of the Bandra-Worli Sea link to Carter Road at a cost of Rs 1,332.6 crore.
The project, expected to take five years to complete, will certainly raise property prices in the areas that it will provide connectivity to. But how else will the project impact Mumbai and its real estate? PropGuide takes a look:
Need for speed to keep it green
While opponents of the project are lambasting it on the assumption that it will cause environmental damage, the project will actually help bring Mumbai's pollution down. How? The number of vehicles registered in Mumbai increased from 12,33,675 in 2004 to 19,17,798 in 2011. This shows that on an average 97,731 vehicles were added to the city's already congested roads every year, assuming no vehicle went off the road during the period. Motor vehicles are one the biggest sources of pollution in the city. And, the situation gets worse with traffic congestion and unusual low speeds increasing vehicles' carbon emission.
An Island City surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the east, south and west, Mumbai, unlike other major cities, does not have a ring road network to channel its traffic from one side to another. This fully explains the classic jams on the city roads. When the coastal road project is complete – its 18 entry and exit points would allow better traffic movement between the freeway and local roads – it will not only help achieve faster vehicular speeds, but will also hit the brakes on Mumbai's carbon emission levels.
Moving towards greener pastures
One of the points the critics raise is that the project might diminish the green cover of the city. However, the truth is that finding open spaces in the Maximum City is a difficult task. Mumbai has been able to add only 360 hectares of public amenity spaces, including green spaces, over the past two decades. Mumbai and its classic space crunch have inspired authors and movie makers for generations.
How will a freeway help the city handle this? The coastal road project will allow the space-starved city to create more open spaces for its public by building sea-side gardens, promenades, and jogging & cycle tracks. The panel that reviewed the project in 2011 also suggested building public facilities like toilets and drinking water systems along the project, apart from “providing beaches through soft protection measures at appropriate locations”. The project would generate recreational spaces of about 75 hectares by the sea side through creation of sea-side promenades and cycle tracks.