For the foreseeable future, the Bandra Worli sea link’s second four-lane carriageway looks like a bridge to nowhere.
While authorities say the carriageway will be completed by December, it will be completely off limits to Mumbai’s users unless the state government builds a new connector till Worli from the second carriageway.
The problem is, the connector has to be built by the contractor who wins the Worli-Haji Ali sea link and the contract for that is yet to be awarded by the state. “Until the connector is built, commuters won’t be able to use the second half of the sea link,” a senior MSRDC official said.
Officials believe construction of the 1.6-km connector could take close to 18 months. The connector will be a clover leaf interchange, looping over the south-bound carriageway and connecting at the Worli end, close to Thadani Road Junction.
The Rs 852-crore Bandra Worli sea link is an eight-lane bridge. But as of now, the eight lanes are divided into two carriageways of four lanes each – the carriageways are separated with 8.5 metres between them.
The government opened four lanes of the sea link on July 1 and is hoping to complete the remaining four lanes by the end of this year. In the absence of the connector, the second carriageway is useless. Once the eight lanes are completed, the additional connector will feed north-bound traffic from Worli on to the sea link.
“A decision on opening the second carriageway will be taken soon. We will see to it that the connector is completed on time,” MSRDC chief engineer Sharad Sabnis said.
Monthly passes for the sea link are not doing too well. So far, toll collector IRB Infrastructure has sold 250-300 smart cards.
The other payment mode, the Onboard Unit (OBU), to be fixed inside vehicles, has not seen any sales.
As soon as a vehicle reaches the bridge, a transceiver will automatically debit the toll amount from the OBU as the car passes through.