Published On:May 19 2008
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Bandra-Worli sea link to be ready by Jan 2009

Mumbai: The long awaited 5.6-km Bandra-Worli sea link is likely to be operational by January 2009. About 78 per cent of the work is completed and the estimated project cost has escalated to Rs 1,650 crore from Rs 1,104 crore in May, 2006.
The sea link is a critical infrastructure for decongesting Mumbai roads.

The project was initiated more than 10 years ago but it was delayed due to public interest litigations and inability on the part of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd, which is the main developer of the project, to adhere to the project milestones. Mr Anil Deshmukh, State Public Works Minister (Public Undertakings), addressing the media, said that the original cost of the bridge was Rs 400 crore but due to opposition from the Worli fisherfolk the project was delayed and costs escalated.

The design and alignment of the link had to be changed due to resistance, which led to escalation, he said.

He also announced the extension of the Bandra-Worli sea link by another 3.6 km, up to Haji Ali, at an additional cost of Rs 1,200 crore. Tenders would be finalised by December.

Mr Deshmukh said that the toll on the sea link would be collected for 30 years. For passenger car, the toll would be Rs 30 and for light commercial vehicle, it would be Rs 45.

“Today, a car covers the distance of 7 km between Bandra and Mahim in 60 minutes. Once the bridge is operational, the distance would be covered in 7 minutes,” he said.

The sea link between Bandra and Worli had been recommended by successive transport studies on the city. The link will increase the route options for passengers travelling from the island city to the western suburbs and vice-versa, which would lead to decongestion of Mahim causeway and the western corridor.

Currently, the biggest traffic bottleneck is at Mahim causeway, which connects northern mainland with southern island city.

With 1,50,000 vehicles crossing the causeway daily, it is a nightmare especially in the morning office hours to drive to south Mumbai business district.
On the second phase II of the link from Worli to Nariman Point, Mr Deshmukh said that the Maharashtra Government had to put the link on hold as only two developers bid for the project — and only one of whom them had submitted the bid document.

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