Flagging off the first trial run between Versova and Azad Nagar, a three-km stretch, Chavan complimented the efforts of all workers, technicians, engineers and officials working on the Mumbai Metro, labelled as one of the state's showpiece infrastructure projects.
"They have brought the Metro to your doorstep without stopping the daily routine or halting the highway traffic even for a single day," Chavan said.
He added that the next stretch on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro - from the Airport Road to Ghatkopar - will be commissioned in December.
Chavan said trials will continue for the next few months as a prelude to securing certification from the railways' safety commissioner, for the project constructed by a Reliance Infrastructure Ltd-led consortium on behalf of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
"It has been a challenging task, to say the least," Chavan said, pointing to the difficulties overcome in the construction of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar.
The decades old and unmapped underground utilities, congested areas and never-ending traffic snarls were some of the hurdles overcome during the construction of the corridor.
The section is part of the 11.40 km Versova-Ghatkopar corridor which will provide a vital east-west link and drastically reduce travel time from around 90 minutes now to barely 20 minutes.
About other projects, Chavan said that the complete underground Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro corridor and the under-consideration Ghatkopar-Thane Metro corridor, along with other mega projects were expected to be started this year.
"The MMRDA will inaugurate projects like mono rail, Eastern Express Freeway Project, the Sahar Elevated Road, Milan Rail Overbridge, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road and a flyover at Amar Mahal Junction in Chembur," Chavan said.
In all, these projects would add another 24 km of additional roadway to the city.
The Mumbai Metro's first phase connecting Versova-Ghatkopar is being constructed at a cost of around Rs.2,356 crore.
This sector is an elevated corridor supported by columns at the road median and will enable connectivity of eastern-western suburbs to the Western Railway and Central Railway.
The MMRDA plans to provide interchange facility within the two railway networks at Ghatkopar and Andheri.
This phase of the Mumbai Metro - a part of which is expected to be opened for public use by August - will cater to important commercial areas and surrounding business districts in the suburban areas.
Chavan said the tendering process of the Rs.9,630 crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, the country's second sealink in Mumbai, is nearing completion and the construction work is expected to start this year.
He added that the state government has given an in-principle backing to the Rs.23,000 crore elevated railway corridor between Churchgate-Virar.
--IANS (Posted on 01-05-2013)