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In a significant advancement for the Orange Gate-Marine Drive tunnel project, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has secured a no objection certificate (NOC) for constructing a launch shaft from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) on land near P D’Mello Road.

The designated area of 1.96 hectares will soon be transferred to the contractor to commence tunnelling operations. Sources indicate that MMRDA will soon transfer this land to the contractor to commence tunnelling operations.

A launch shaft is a critical component in tunnelling projects, serving as a vertical or near-vertical excavation from which a tunnel boring machine (TBM) or other tunnelling equipment is launched. This shaft allows for the assembly, testing, and launch of the TBM, as well as facilitating the removal of excavated material through cranes or conveyor systems, reports Times Of India.

Orange Gate-Marine Drive Tunnel Project

The proposed tunnel will provide the shortest route between the western and eastern parts of Mumbai, significantly enhancing connectivity.

The project, with an estimated cost of Rs 7,765 crore, will cover a distance of 9.2 kilometres, including 6.52 kilometres of twin tunnels. Each tunnel will be 11 metres wide, accommodating two lanes of traffic with a third lane dedicated to emergency use. Additionally, cross passages will be constructed between the tunnels to ensure safety in unforeseen circumstances.

This tunnel will offer a traffic-free route, addressing the congestion challenges at Orange Gate, which has become a significant issue for the Mumbai Port Trust and the Main Post Office square on P D'Mello Road.

The Eastern Freeway, which connects Mankhurd to Chembur Junction and Orange Gate, has greatly improved transportation to South Mumbai. However, the increased traffic at Orange Gate necessitates further infrastructure development

The project also entails building a viaduct for vehicle access at the Eastern Freeway Orange Gate, as well as open cuts and access roads on both sides of the corridor. The left-side tunnel will run beneath the seaway, resurfacing after B D Somani Chowk.

The tunnel will be constructed approximately 40 metres below ground level to avoid interference with the metro line, central rail, and high-rise building foundations.

Additionally, special consideration has been given to the safety of heritage sites and the local population, ensuring that the construction process and the final structure maintain the integrity and security of the surrounding areas.