Mumbai Metro Project: How Massive And Extensive Is It?

Go anywhere in Mumbai these days and one will see giant barricades around excavation sites which advertise the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro line or the Andheri East to Dahisar East metro line. Major areas such as Prabhadevi, Worli, Azad Maidan, Hutatma Chowk, Western Express Highway (WEH) are all heavily barricaded. Behind these barricades, various types of engineers and workers are hard at work, bringing to fruition, the plans for Mumbai Metro lines 3 and 2B. Change is the only constant and each day the landscape of our beloved Mumbai City undergoes irreversible yet, defining change.

Excavation for Metro at Siddhivinayak
Excavation for Metro at Siddhivinayak (Source: MMRCL)

When construction for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar elevated metro line, providing east-west connectivity, began in early 2008, the scale of the project surprised most as did the lengthy duration of construction and the resultant obstruction of traffic and daily life for shops, residences and businesses in the immediate vicinity of the construction sites. Many wondered if this was necessary. Even when Metro Line 1 was opened to the public in 2014 there were still many sceptics who wondered if the metro rakes would ever travel to full capacity.

However, within a few months, as most of the commuting population swapped road travel for the metro, the new Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) proved to be inadequate. More commuters were seen to be opting for this quick, air-conditioned, comfortable transit option. There were demands for metro lines along the north south corridor to augment the current local train network as well as the WEH, and reduce traffic. As a result, previous plans for additional metro lines were altered. Today, the Metro master plan includes approved plans for a total of 7 metro lines which will interconnect at various points in the city and provide wide scale, unprecedented connectivity. Metro Line 1 is of course operational and 3 lines are under-construction, while 3 more have been approved and are in the tendering process.

Here’s a look at these upcoming metro-lines under three categories:

A. Under-Construction Lines:

1.Mumbai Metro Line 2 Dahisar-DN Nagar-Mankhurd

This is the longest metro line that will probably be constructed in Mumbai. It is a total of 42.1 kms long and is being done in two phases. The 18.6 km first phase or line 2A, which is under-construction, will connect Dahisar East to DN Nagar in Andheri West; this is an existing station on Metro Line 1. Phase 1 is being undertaken by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on behalf of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). In the second phase the metro line 2B will extend from DN Nagar to Mankhurd via Bandra, BKC and Chembur and cover 23.5 kms. Thus when completed Metro line 2 will provide north-south as well as east-west connectivity, making it the most connected line.

DN Nagar Metro station
DN Nagar Metro station (Source: Wiki)

2.Mumbai Metro Line 3 Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ

Mumbai metro line 3 is the only metro line that will be almost completely underground. The tunneling work at various points in the city is in full swing. This line is being executed by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) – GOI (50%) & GoMH (50%). Metro Line 3 is highly anticipated and given the impetus it has received from the Chief Minister’s office it may even be completed before any other ongoing line.

This line connects 6 business districts of Colaba, Nariman Point, Worli, BKC, MIDC and SEEPZ. Additionally, it will also have stations at the domestic and international airport terminals providing quick and comfortable commute to and from airports and these business hubs; travel time from Cuffe Parade to Airport will come down to only 50 minutes from the current 100 minutes by road!. Metro Line 3 is expected to reduce traffic by about 35% or by 4.5 lakh vehicles leading to decongestion of roads.

Temporary road diversion at Mahalaxmi
Temporary road diversion at Mahalaxmi (Source: MMRCL)

3.Mumbai Metro Line 7 Dahisar East-Andheri East

This metro line will run from the current Andheri WEH station along the highway and provide north-south connectivity upto Dahisar East. It will cover a total of 16.5 kms and will substantially reduce traffic on the roads and contribute to a less polluted and noisy western suburban region. This line is owned by the MMRDA, and the DMRC are the consultants on the project. Future plans for this line include extending it up to Mira-Bhayandar in the north (Line 9), and to the domestic airport terminal and further to Bandra East in the South as Line 8.

B: Approved Lines:

1.Mumbai Metro Line 4 Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavli

This line is 32.32 kms long and will connect various unconnected points of the central and eastern suburbs. It has been approved and is currently in the tendering process. There are future plans to extend this line further south to GPO in Fort and maybe even up to Apollo Bunder as part of Line 8.

2.Mumbai Metro Line 5 Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan

For now this 23.5 km line has only been approved. Bhiwandi and Kalyan are close to the industrial belt of the city located in the Bhiwandi-Airoli-Taloja region. Commuters in this region are heavily reliant on the central and harbour railway services and feeder bus services run by BEST, TMT and NMMT operators. A metro line connecting these main junctions and the towns in between would be very beneficial and provided much needed transport relief.

Metro Work at Dadar
Metro Work at Dadar (Source: MMRCL)

3.Mumbai Metro Line 6 Lokhandwala-Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg

This is an east-west line which will cover 14.47 kms and will traverse business hubs of Andheri, MIDC, SEEPZ, Powai, Vikhroli and Kanjurmarg. This line which has been approved will eventually be executed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

The estimated cost of these seven lines is Rs. 99, 388 crores and will cover a whopping 216 kms. Various well-known international names such as Siemens, CSR Nanjing and Thales Group have so far been associated with execution of Metro Line 1. The  Japanese International Cooperation Agency is financially contributing to Line 3.

Mumbai Metro Map

Legends: Line 1 Yellow, Line 2 Blue, Line 3 Green, Line 4 Purple, Line 6 Brown, Line 5 Moss Green, Monorail Black. (Courtesy: The Metro Rail Guy)

C. Proposed Mumbai Metro Lines:

The masterplan for MRTS development in Mumbai and the Metropolitan Region include 2 additional lines for now. These are Line 11 from Kalyan-Dombivli-Taloja for which DMRC is currently conducting a feasibility study, and Line XX from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) to Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). A detailed project report is being prepared for this specific airport metro line by the DMRC.

Undoubtedly, this extensive metro master plan will be ongoing for a long time; at least until 2025. This is a massive undertaking by the MMRDA in consultation with the DMRC which has executed multiple lines in the capital region. As envisioned by MMRCL, the goal is to “redefine travel in Mumbai City and make it comfortable, dignified and people-friendly.” More importantly, the metro development is an infrastructural undertaking which will uplift the city’s standard of living, raise it to global standards as an international business hub and make it a coveted real estate market.

Metro construction along Western Express Highway
Mumbai Metro Line 7 construction along Western Express Highway
  • Hitherto far-flung suburbs of Mira Road, Mankhurd, Thane, Dombivli, Kalyan and Bhiwandi will see an upsurge in realty interest and development.
  • Commercial activity will spread further across the city to these towns as a result of better connectivity provided by the Mumbai Metro project.
  • The city’s roads will be less congested. Road and rail networks will become more efficient as the burden on them is reduced.
  • The Metro transit system is run on electricity which makes it a clean energy transport system. It is also noiseless. Overall, it will contribute to reducing pollution in the city.

As a lifelong Mumbaikar who has also seen the benefits of the MRTS in Delhi and NCR to its daily commuters, I cannot wait for this visionary master plan to come to fruition. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ support of this infrastructural development and his government’s focus on developing the city and finally ensuring it gets its due is welcome. Meanwhile, all of us Mumbaikars have to deal with noise, dust and traffic snarls daily as our city gets its coveted and much-deserved new Mass Rapid Transport System.

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