Mumbai’s wait for trans-harbour link just got a little longer | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai’s wait for trans-harbour link just got a little longer

With cost set to go up, MMRDA sources say work can only start after February and not next month as planned

mumbai Updated: Sep 15, 2017 09:57 IST
Swapnil Rawal
The sea link, which will connect the island city at Sewri to Chirle, Nhava, on the mainland, has had several false starts.
The sea link, which will connect the island city at Sewri to Chirle, Nhava, on the mainland, has had several false starts.(HT)

After more than three decades on the drawing board, construction of the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link is still unlikely to begin any time soon.

As the construction cost of the 22-km link between Sewri and Nhava is set to go up after bids were opened on Friday, the ambitious project is expected to be delayed further.

The MTHL will provide easier connectivity between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, especially to the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had planned to kick-start work by October , but sources within the MMRDA said that any construction work on the project is unlikely to start before February 2018.

The construction has been divided into three parts. The first two packages are for the sea-bridge components, while the third is the construction of a road up to Chirle in Raigad. The sea bridge will be 16.5-km long, while the road will be 3.813-km long.

On Friday, the MMRDA opened financial bids for two construction packages, which were 15% higher than its estimate. The third bid — for the road section of the project — is expected to be opened on Friday.

MMRDA officials said that they would seek justification from the bidders for quoting higher and will also have to seek a nod from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is funding the project. “These negotiations and concurrence could take a fortnight or even more,” a senior official said.

The official said even after awarding the contracts, the contractors would take time to mobilise. “Once it is awarded, they will conduct their own studies and would take around a couple of months to mobilise forces. Work on the ground is likely to start by next year,” the official said.

Since it is a sea bridge much like the Bandra-Worli Link, but longer, the construction period of the project is close to four years. Though the MMRDA is pushing for its completion by 2019-end, the project will not be ready before early 2021, officials said. When it was first mooted in the mid-1980s, its estimated cost was Rs 350 crore. In 2005, the cost was Rs 4,000 crore Now, the project cost is expected to reach Rs 20,000crore.