The state’s road infrastructure agency, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has planned to build two three-lane bridges along the Thane Creek bridge.
“Tenders for the project will be floated shortly,” MSRDC vice chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali said.
The bridge could provide six more lanes to the existing bridge, which would mean much less traffic congestion at the entrance of Mumbai at Vashi.
The proposed bridge would be complementary to the ongoing plan to expand the Sion-Panvel Expressway from existing six lanes to 12 lanes, the work on which has been initiated by the Public Works Department. Many believed that the expansion would be fruitless and cause further traffic jams at the Thane Creek Bridge (TCB) at Vashi as traffic from 12 lanes would be forced into a six lane bridge, creating a bottleneck.
The MSRDC has therefore proposed the new bridge, which would technically be an expansion of the TCB. Two separate decks of three lanes each will come up on either side of the existing TCB.
“The initial estimated cost is Rs600 crore. We will be seeking funds under JNNURM for the project,” MSRDC technical advisor, special projects S Nandgirikar said. MSRDC is hoping to get 35% of the total project cost under JNNURM and is expecting the remainder from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and the CIDCO.
MSRDC is hoping to float tenders for the project in a fortnight and ensure that work begins by end of the year.
“We are planning to complete the entire bridge in three years,” Nandgirikar said. The first bridge to connect the Island city to Navi Mumbai called the Thane Creek bridge was opened in 1973.
The two-lane bridge, however, fell into disrepair soon, forcing the state to commission another bridge in 1987, opened to the public in 1997.