Various experts and consultants have pointed to Mumbai’s 62-km coastline as the answer to the city’s commuting problems.
Various ideas, from inland water transport to roads parallel to the sea, were floated, but the Bandra-Worli Sealink is the only project that has become reality.
The sealink itself is only part of a larger project — the 20-km Western Freeway Sea Link (WFSL) planned from Bandra till Nariman Point. The WFSL is part of a series of inter-connected sea bridges.
When it will see the light of day is anybody’s guess.
The second part of WFSL is the 3.3-km Worli-Haji Ali Sealink the government hopes to complete by 2013. The final part will be the 10.9-km Haji Ali-Nariman Point Sealink.
The Reliance Infrastructure-Hyundai consortium emerged as the preferred bidder for the Worli-Haji Ali phase in February. The consortium sought Rs 1,392 crore from the government as viability gap funding — money given by the government to make the project economically viable. This was lower then the Rs 2,466 crore sought by the HCC-John Laing-Samsung consortium.
The government, however, is still debating whom the contract should go to.
The base cost is Rs 1,120 crore, but the bidder must also buy the 5.6-km Bandra Worli Sealink from the state for Rs 1,640 crore.