Mumbai: Mumbaikars are one step closer towards major relief from traffic woes as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today flagged-off the trial run of Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar elevated Metro corridor.
Calling it one of the most challenging projects, Mr Chavan said, "It is very easy to build a railway or a Metro in open areas but in congested areas like Mumbai to build an over ground metro is a huge challenge."
"We will also launch the country's first monorail; in fact, projects worth Rs 5000 crore will be inaugurated this year," Mr Chavan added.
The 11.4 km elevated tracks will connect the western suburb of Versova to the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar through Andheri. There will be 12 stations on the route and the distance, which takes nearly one and a half hours by road, will be covered in just 21 minutes.
With a train every three-and-a-half minutes, the Metro will provide the much-needed east to west connectivity and is expected to carry about six lakh commuters every day. The fares are expected to be between Rs 10 to Rs 15, depending on the distance.
Along with the Metro another east-west connectivity project, the Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) is also expected to be functional by the end of the year. While the city's northern fringes are connected to South Mumbai by its lifeline, the local trains, east-west connectivity so far has been a commuter's nightmare.
The project has seen many delays. The construction on the corridor started in 2008 and the initial deadline was for December 2010. But the trial run was finally conducted after nearly five years.
"We will discuss what caused the delay. Initially, we did not have enough knowledge about the underground pipes and the utility services and we have faced a number of problems undertaking the various operations of the construction," Mr Chavan said.
The Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) is developing the corridor under public-private-partnership (PPP).