A three-hour ordeal to travel from India’s financial capital Mumbai to its satellite city Navi Mumbai will be cut to 15 minutes when the country’s longest sea bridge opens later this year, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said.
The 22 km-long Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) will open to the public in November this year, linking connect upscale South Mumbai to Navi Mumbai and Raigad, Mr Shinde told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
“The current travel time from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai is 2.5 to 3 hours. It will be reduced to 15 minutes,” Mr Shinde told NDTV.
The bridge will also be the first in the country to have an Open Road Tolling (ORT) system, a technology in use in countries like Singapore where a vehicle does not have to stop to pay a toll. Of its 22 km length, 16.5 km will traverse the sea.
“This bridge has international technology. Today we launched the longest Orthotropic Steel Deck (OSD). This project will give a big boost to the economy,” Mr Shinde said.
The OSD, 180 metres in length and weighing 2,300 metric tonnes, is one of a kind in the country, he said.
The Trans-Harbour Link will also be connected to the under-construction eight-lane coastal highway which begins from Marine Drive to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
“The MTHL will save a lot of fuel. By reducing travel time from hours to minutes, it will play a huge role in reducing air pollution,” the Chief Minister said.
Mr Shinde added that his government is working with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to begin various developmental works in Mumbai. He alleged that there has not been any real work done in the city in the last few years.
“We are working with the BMC. Sewage treatment plants, pothole-free roads, hospitals, etc. will be our primary focus. Mumbai will change soon,” Mr Shinde said.
“This is a project of superlatives. India’s longest sea bridge, the first project to use OSD technology, reverse circulation. Construction of the bridge took the ecosystem into account, which is why pelicans and flamingos are back despite heavy machinery functioning,” SVR Srinivas, Additional Chief Secretary and Metropolitan Commissioner said.
Mr Srinivas said the number of wires used in the project if joined together, can go around the earth.
“Most importantly, the impact of this project will not only benefit Mumbai but also the country at large. As the islands get connected with the mainland, it will open up new avenues for further growth,” he said.
Mr Srinivas added that almost 90% of the construction has been completed.