The Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), work on which started about a decade ago, has been declared complete. The 6.5km road, which provides quick east-west connectivity, will be opened to traffic at 8am on Friday. It will reduce travel time between the Western and Eastern Express Highways to merely 15-20 minutes from 60 minutes. The SCLR will be commissioned without fanfare or official ceremonies as the code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections is in force.
The SCLR comprises a 560m Kurla-Kalina flyover (opened in August 2012) over LBS Marg, and a doubledecker flyover (the country's first and of a combined length of 1.8km) above the Harbour and Main line tracks in New Tilak Nagar. Motorists can access the Kurla-Kalina flyover from Kurla (West) near Buddha Colony, Dairy Road in Nehru Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Eastern Express Highway and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. Of the double-decker flyover, the top deck connects Kurla (West) and Tilak Nagar, and the bottom deck LTT and Nehru Nagar.
With the SCLR, motorists heading for the EEH from the WEH will no longer have to take a detour via Sion-Dharavi Road or LBS Road via BKC and Kalina.
The SCLR missed 12 deadlines, the last on March 31, since construction began in 2006 (the project was planned in 2002). The delays were due to reasons like not getting permission from the railways to build the doubledecker flyover, and the rehabilitation of more than 3,500 families in Gazi Nagar, Buddha Colony, Sable Nagar, Rahul Nagar and Indira Colony, and of commercial units in Kurla and Chembur. The delays resulted in the cost of the project to escalate from Rs 115 crore to Rs 450 crore.
An MMRDA official said, "The SCLR was part of the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport-I project aimed at improving rail and road infrastructure in Mumbai. Mumbai has always had an excellent rail transport network, which offers linear connectivity between the suburbs and the island city. But east-west connectivity has always been poor."