43-km sea bridge may connect Versova-Bandra link to Virar
A 42.75-km sea bridge is likely to connect the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) to Virar, with connectors at Charkop, Uttan, Vasai and Virar.
According to officials of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the bridge is expected to cost Rs.24,000 crore.
With the coastal road, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, VBSL, and the proposed extension, the state is looking at reducing travel time between Nariman Point in south Mumbai and Virar in Palghar district, a distance of nearly 90km, to an hour from the current three hours.
Shankar Dhote, chief engineer (special projects), MSRDC, said, “The report has to be passed by the state government’s infrastructure committee before a detailed project report is prepared.”
According to a pre-feasibility study of the proposed extension, submitted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to MSRDC, the eight-lane main bridge will connect Versova to Virar with six-lane connectors at four locations and toll plazas at every interchange. One-way toll from Versova to Vasai is estimated to be Rs.814 for a car and Rs.1,669 for a bus at the time of commercial operations.
The report estimates 76,762 passenger car unit will use the extension by the time the bridge is opened, which will take another 10 years, an MSRDC official said.
Transport experts have, however, opposed the idea of an extension, terming it a waste of money.
AV Shenoy from the Mumbai Mobility Forum, said, “The experience of Bandra- Worli Sea Link shows that except cars, no one uses it. The link, which was designed for 1.2 lakh vehicles, is presently stagnated at 45,000 vehicles every day. Hence, heavy expenditure on further sea links is not justified.”
While the civic body has already started work on phase-1 of the coastal road, from Nariman Point to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the MSRDC recently awarded the contract for the 17.17-km VBSL to Reliance Infrastructure at a cost of Rs.7,000 crore.