Mumbai's new Eastern Freeway to be operational Friday

Mumbai, June 13 (IANS) One of the mega-showpiece projects of the Maharashtra government - the Eastern Freeway Project, connecting south Mumbai to the eastern suburbs - was inaugurated here by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and will be open for traffic from Friday.

Chavan inaugurated it Thursday evening and it will be opened for motorists to use from Friday, said an official of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Constructed at a cost of Rs.1,250 crore, the 13.59 km long, toll-free, signal-free EFP is an elevated four-lane bridge which will slash the travel time between south Mumbai to Chembur from 90 minutes to less than 25 minutes.

The EFP's highlights include a four-lane elevated road from Orange Gate in south Mumbai to Anik, near Wadala, an eight-lane twin tunnel between Anik and Panjrapole near Chembur, and another four-lane elevated road from Panrapole to Ghatkopar.

Besides easing traffic congestion at Dadar, Sion and Chembur, considered perpetual bottlenecks, the smooth road will entail huge savings in time and fuel costs.

It will also provide a speedy connectivity between the island city to the eastern suburbs and onwards to Navi Mumbai where the new international airport is coming up, and on to Pune and Goa.

Motorists zooming from south Mumbai will drive along fully elevated corridor of EFP, there will be a 550-metre long twin tunnel - the first of its kind in an urban set-up in India, on the Anik-Panjrapole Link Road - to make it a pleasant driving experience.

Though ready nearly 10 days ago, the opening was delayed as the state government was making attempts to bring a VVIP like UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the honours.

However, facing sharp public criticism, the MMRDA had it inaugurated.

"The EPF will be opened to public tomorrow (friday) as it will take some time to remove the marquee and other arrangements set up for the inauguration," said MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner U.P.S. Madan.

The EFP joins the string of prestigious mega-projects of the MMRDA dotting Mumbai like the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra Worli Sea Link, the Metrorail, the Monorail, the proposed Trans Harbour Link and others to improve Mumbai traffic movement.

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