The much-awaited infrastructure showpiece expected to transform Mumbais skyline and ease some of its traffic woes,the Bandra-Worli Sea Link,has once again failed to keep its date with motorists.
The state government,which planned to partially open the sea link by January-end,is now looking at March-end for a possible opening of the iconic structure.
Vimaltai Mundada,Minister of Public Works Department (Public Undertakings),said construction work at one section,lighting on the link and final touches are still remaining.
Construction work remains to be done on the Worli-end. Were keeping constant check of the progress of the work. From the assessments of the review meetings we think the sea link should be open to traffic by March-end, Mundada told Newsline.
Hindustan Construction Company (HCC),the contractor for the link,said construction of around 240 metres is remaining on the Worli-side and will be completed by mid-March. The remaining four lanes are expected to be operationalised by July,the minister added.
According to the original plan of the state government,the sea link was to be completed by 2003,but the project has been embroiled in various issues such as logistical,environmental clearance and public interest litigation leading to its delay and subsequent cost escalation.
The original cost of this 5.6-km sea bridge was Rs 400 crore which shot up to nearly Rs 1,400 crore. Of this,around Rs 515 is the cost of the bridge,the rest is for developing approach roads on both ends of the sea-link,providing a quick dispersal system,at both ends and other expenses.
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link is an eight-lane,twin carriageway having a cable-stayed bridge design that will enable speedy travel between Bandra and Worli. Traffic studies have estimated that due to the sea link,motorists using this bridge will save about 30 minutes of travel time and delays of 23 signals,they face at present.
The link will be able to accommodate about 1.20 lakh motorists per day. At present,Mahim Causeway is the only link connecting the western suburbs with the island city of Mumbai. This north-south traffic corridor is very congested and during the peak hours results in a bottleneck at Mahim Causeway.