Construction work of the proposed 8-km-long mid-sea ropeway between Sewri and Elephanta Caves is set to block traffic of vessels sailing along the city’s east coast. The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) said daily traffic blocks of around eight hours will be put in place from this year-end. Construction work of the ₹700-crore ropeway project is expected to start by the end of 2019 and will take around 42 months to complete. The blocks will be undertaken for the duration of the construction, MbPT officials said. The mid-sea ropeway will be made accessible through boats from jetties at Sewri and Elephanta Island. According to MbPT officials, during the construction period, cargo ships transporting chemicals to Pirpau jetty near Trombay will have to face the traffic blocks. However, not many passenger ships will be affected, they said. An MbPT official said, “During execution of the work in and around the channel area, the contractor has to submit before the start of work, the construction methodology and schedule to arrange traffic blocks. The windows that will be granted for the activities to be carried out by the concessionaire across the channel will have to be adhered to. Daily eight hours of traffic block can be given for construction.”“The construction plan should specify the exact requirement of traffic blocks and the navigational channel in which the blocks have to be undertaken. It should be planned in such a way to ensure minimum disruption of port operations,” the official said. Three international companies are said to have shown interest for construction of the ropeway, for which the last date to submit bids is July 31, 2019. The MbPT also plans to construct a helipad at Haji Bunder, which can be used by the contractors involved in the construction of the ropeway during its construction. According to the project report prepared by MbPT, the Trust expects an annual turnover of ₹378 crore from the ropeway. When completed, the Sewri-Elephanta Caves ropeway is considered to become the world’s longest mid-sea ropeway, and it is expected to boost tourism in the city. The tentative fare is expected to be around ₹500 for a two-way journey for Indian nationals and ₹1,000 for foreign tourists. While the project is being executed on public-private partnership (PPP) mode, all the investment in the project will be made from the private sector. In return, MbPT will allow the private firm that builds the ropeway to earn from the commercial operations in the form of ticketing and non-ticketing revenue.Elephanta Caves at Elephanta Island has been declared as a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Owing to this, various clearance will have to be taken from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) along with the Indian Navy, Coastguard and environmental agencies, for the project.