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No new sea link for Mumbai till 2014

mumbai Updated: Jun 30, 2010 01:40 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh
Zeeshan Shaikh
Hindustan Times
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It was touted as the answer to traffic problems for those driving to the island city from the western suburbs, and back.

However, the Western Freeway, which is meant to connect Bandra to Nariman Point, will not be ready for at least another six years.

Planned in phases, only the first phase — Bandra to Worli — has been completed so far, and that too after a delay of five years.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation on Monday said it would be able to float bids for building the last two phases, Haji Ali-Nariman Point and Bandra-Versova, only in May 2011. This means Versova will be connected to Nariman Point not before 2017.

As per the original plan, the Worli-Haji Ali sea link should have been operational by now, but delay in finalising the contract means work starts in 2011 and is expected to end in 2014.

Work should also have begun on the Bandra-Versova and Haji Ali-Nariman Point stretch. The Haji Ali-Nariman Point link has to get environmental and regulatory clearances before it can float tenders.

Currently, 200 cars are added to Mumbai's road every day. The vehicle population in the city is 17.15 lakh, and it's expected to increase by 15 per cent every year. The city's road infrastructure has not kept pace with the speed at which vehicles are being added to the roads.

"We will float bids for these two projects by next May. We have asked our consultants to speed up the work, which will allow us to start the bidding process next year," Sonia Sethi, MSRDC joint managing director, said.

"The delay in finding the right alignment for the Haji Ali-Nariman Point stretch and the delay in construction of the Bandra-Worli sea link are why these projects have not yet taken off," a senior MSRDC official said, requesting anonymity.

"These sea links will help only people with vehicles. The government should have prioritised mass transit projects, which would have helped the layperson," Sudhir Badami, transportation expert, said.