Bandra-Worli Sea Link
The Rs.1,600-crore (Rs.16 billion), 5.6 km Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL), which will connect the suburban Bandra with Worli on the south here, is ready and will be open to the public by the end of June, a Maharashtra minister said Sunday.
Maharashtra State Roadways Development Corporation (MSRDC) Minister Vimal Mundada said the inauguration of the link would be "as per the schedule, by June-end".
"We are awaiting a final confirmation from United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi to do the inaugural honours. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and other dignitaries have already confirmed their presence," Mundada told IANS.
Completed after 10 years, the cable-supported 8-lane bridge will be the country's first-ever open sea link.
Presently, the Mahim Causeway is the only connecting link between the southern island city and the northwest suburbs.
A daily traffic volume exceeding 1.4 million leads to massive traffic snarls, especially during the morning and evening peak hours.
An MSRDC official said the impact of the bridge can be gauged from the fact that the distance of 8 km between Bandra-Worli that presently takes anything between 60-90 minutes during the peak hours will be completed in 6-8 minutes.
"Once the BWSL is operational, this travel time will reduce to barely 6-8 minutes. It will also entail savings in vehicular operating costs (VOC) of over one billion rupees per annum," the official said.
The chief attraction of the magnificent structure would be the two cable stayed bridges, one 500 metres (northern side) and another 350 metres (southern side), for the passage of fishing boats.
The bridge rests on two towers each 126 metres tall or equivalent to a 43-storeyed building. MSRDC has plans to provide a viewers gallery at the top of the towers which would offer a bird's eye glimpse of the entire city.
There is a modern, automated, 16-lane toll plaza at the southern end, and the bridge has been equipped with sophisticated security and monitoring systems.
Executed by the Hindustan Construction Company, the MSRDC's jewel in the crown project suffered a long delay of five years owing to various hiccups. The company will also maintain the bridge for the next five years.
Although designed for speeding at 100-km per hour, initially the MSRDC plans to impose a 50-km per hour speed limit to enable motorists to get used to the bridge and prevent accidents. Two lanes are proposed to be reserved exclusively for buses and heavy vehicles.