After asking for four design changes in the past six years, the Central Railway (CR) has asked the agency implementing Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) for a fresh design before it can grant permission to take the road over railway tracks. The clearance from CR is, by and large, the only major hurdle left for the SCLR, which has been under construction for nine years and is regarded as one of the most delayed projects.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will submit a fresh design for the fifth time by Thursday for scrutiny by the Commissioner of Railway Safety. The alteration suggested this time is a minor one to ensure safety while construction, an MSRDC engineer said.
“We have submitted four designs till now as every time a new chief engineer came in and asked for a new design. However, we welcome the change that has been suggested this time as it is from the safety point of view,” the engineer said, adding the Commissioner of Railway Safety is likely to approve the design shortly after submission.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for the project, had first approached CR in 2006 for permission to build a 50.9-metre bridge over the main line and a 39-metre viaduct over the harbour line.
As per MSRDC engineers, the bridges were to be made with concrete slabs, but railway authorities recommended a steel bridge. Later, a second design change was suggested to increase the span or the distance between two pillars. After that, the bone of contention was the position of one pier. As per original designs, it was to be erected between two fast train corridors. The design was modified twice to change the position of the pier, which is now going to be constructed between fast train and goods train corridor.
The most recent alteration is with regards to the position of the pile cap on which the contentious pier will stand. The pile cap with a base of 1.8 metres was to be originally constructed underground, requiring digging of a trench six to seven feet deep. To avoid any impact on the adjacent tracks, the CR wants the pile cap to be above the ground.
The construction of SCLR, which will have the city’s first double-deck bridge, started in 2003 and is expected to be over by June 2013, the sixth deadline set for the project.