The shoreline from Priyadarshini Park at Napeansea Road to NSCI in Worli is likely to see a major makeover. Over 160 acres of the tidal zone is proposed for reclamation along this stretch to build the Coastal Road, one of its traffic interchanges, allied facilities and open spaces.
The residents of Breach Candy fear that inbound traffic from the Coastal Road through the planned interchange between Amarsons and Tata gardens would further clog the alreadycongested Bhulabhai Desai Road, popularly known as Warden Road. They are also unhappy about the prospect of losing part of Tata Garden to one of the interchange’s ramps and the transformation of the coastline along their posh neighbourhood. But civic officials say the Coastal Road would effectively ease traffic in the congested area, giving locals direct and easy access to the city’s northern and southern parts, not to mention the creation of open spaces on reclaimed land, which the BMC has promised not to commercially exploit. There will also be coastal walkways and cycling tracks along the stretch, something that has never been available there.
“We have planned interchanges on the Coastal Road to encourage motorists travelling shorter distances to use it, which will decongest the interior roads. The Coastal Road infrastructure in its entirety will ease traffic along the city’s congested western part, not add to it as some believe,” said a senior municipal of ficial. For instance, a motorist travelling from Marine Drive to Mahalaxmi would be able to take the Coastal Road and make an exit at the Haji Ali interchange, bypassing Warden Road or Pedder Road. “These two narrow roads, as of now, are effectively bottlenecks in their entirety. The Coastal Road will obviate the need for motorists to use these as north-south connectors. Breach Candy and Pedder Road residents would actually be able to breathe easy when traffic eases in their areas because of the Coastal Road,” said a senior civic official.
According to the authorities, all three interchanges on the Coastal Road’s Nariman Point to Worli stretch have been planned after detailed studies of the locations and their extended surroundings. The major portion of each interchange will be on reclaimed land, and only the landings will be on existing roads to facilitate access to the Coastal Road, said engineers, who stressed that no part of the infrastructural development would block sea view from existing buildings.
BMC officials say they haven’t yet decided on the number of trees to be cut at Tata Garden to accommodate one of the arms of the Breach Candy interchange, officially being called the Amarsons Garden interchange.
“We are trying to minimise the number. We are trying to work out a way to cause minimal change to the park. Locals are criticising us for taking away a small portion of Tata Garden, but then aren’t we giving back more than 100 times this area on reclaimed land close by?” said an official. Replying to this rhetorical question is pointless for the time being as the Coastal Road vs ecology debate is now for the courts to decide.