The 22-km-long Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link, connecting Sewri in the city to Nhava on the mainland, is back on the state government’s agenda.
The state is now in the concluding stages of finalising a financial restructure of the sea bridge, which is likely to include a Metro line.
The project consultants are also seeking advice from private developers on how to make the sealink financially viable.
Work on the bridge — first mooted in the 1970s — has been on a standstill since June 2008, when the government scrapped its own bidding process, terming the two surviving bids by the Ambani brothers as “unrealistic”.
Last year, the sealink had no takers because of the economic slowdown.
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority appointed consultant KPMG has been holding interviews with interested players before finalising the Design-Build-Operate-Transfer model for the sealink. This includes both the Ambani brothers led consortiums, which have once again expressed interest in the project.
Both these developers had long interviews with KPMG, giving their inputs on the feasibility of the project, said an official involved in the restructuring. The other interested developers include the new entrant Tata Realty and former bidders like Larsen and Toubro.
KPMG has to work out the most feasible option for the project, work out the estimated cost and its design. The private developer will be granted Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
VGF is given to infrastructure projects, which are being built on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. As Infrastructure projects have long gestation periods and are not immediately financially viable on their own, the government provides money to private players.
“KPMG, consultants for the government, are in the final stages of a financial restructure of the project. We are exploring various options, including whether it will be a six-lane or eight-lane bridge with two additional tracks for the Metro and if the private developer will also operate the Metro corridor,’’ said Ajay Saxena, PPP expert for the state government.
The cost of the sealink, estimated at Rs 6,000 crore, will see a drastic upward revision if the private developer has to operate the Metro line in addition to laying down the corridor.
The bridge is estimated to cut travel time between the city and its hinterland from two hours to just 30 minutes.
The dream of a smooth ride across the sea, however, depends on how the government executes this project.