New Bridges planned for Mumbai

Even as the first cable-stayed bridge connecting Worli and Bandra is nearing completion, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is planning two more such bridges to link Vasai with Bhayandar and Gorai with Borivli.The bridges, alongwith a four-lane road, will give an uninterrupted ride to the satellite townships of Vasai and Virar from Mumbai.On Thursday, the MSRDC called for bids from project management consultants. MSRDC’s chief engineer Subhash Nage said that while his organisation will build the bridges, MMRDA will do the road widening work from Gorai to Bhayandar. The project is expected to be completed in five years. The cost is yet to be worked out. Apart from the rail network, the other route to Vasai is via the Mumbai -Ahmedabad highway. Navghar-Manickpur Municipal Council’s chief executive officer Maruti Khodke said, “The Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway has just four lanes and traffic has immensely increased since the last few years. Vehicles going towards Vasai have to take a narrow road which passes through villages in Vasai (E).’’ He said Vasai, Virar and Nalasopara would have a direct link with Mumbai and travelling time could be reduced by an hour. At present, it takes about three hours during peak time to travel from Vasai to south Mumbai by road. However, the people of Gorai, Uttan, Bhayandar, Naigaon and Vasai are likely to oppose the bridge connecting their village with the mainland. Marcus Dabre, president of the Harit Vasai Movement, said, “I am not against infrastructure development, but I feel that rich people from Mumbai will take over the belt and push the locals out of their plots overlooking the sea. The Panju island, a scenic spot along the railway track, will also be captured by them.’’ Construction of the bridges would also push up property rates in the area. The current rates in the Vasai-Virar belt range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,800 per sq ft. The authorities are also planning to develop the old railway bridge connecting Bhayandar and Naigaon. After quadrupling the Borivli-Virar corridor, the railways had categorically said that the old bridge was not needed. But MMRDA is firm on retaining the bridge. At a recent meeting between chief secretary Johny Joseph and chairman of railway board K C Jena, the railways agreed to give the bridge at a nominal cost. The bridge will be used for light vehicles. Vehicles could access the bridge via Bhayander (West) and travel upto Naigaon.
Commuters along Mumbai Metro’s first line from Versova to Ghatkopar will not only have modern coaches to travel in but be able to view three aesthetically designed bridges on their route a little over three years from now.Mumbai Metro One, the special purpose vehicle floated to build the metro line, has awarded contracts for the building of one cable stayed bridge at the Jog Flyover at the Western Express Highway (Andheri) and two cantilever bridges over Andheri station and the Mithi river near Kurla.The construction will be undertaken by SEW Constructions, which has tied up with VSL of Switzerland for building the cable stayed bridge, that will be 22 metres high from ground level and 83 metres in length. MMI director K P Maheshwari said that they had also awarded the contracts for power supply and signalling and train control systems for the first line to ABB (India) and Siemens. Maheshwari said, “VSL is a world leader in cable stay technology. Work on all three bridges will begin shortly and will be completed in 20 months,’’ he said.“The signalling and train control systems by Siemens will be ensure higher safety standards, give more passenger comfort and will save power by upto 25%,’’ said Maheshwari. “We are moving at a fast pace and hope to complete the projects in 30 months,’’ he added. The Versova Andheri Ghatkopar line, which will cost over Rs 2,000 crore, is expected to be ready by 2010. MMI, jointly owned by Reliance Energy Limited, MMRDA and French multinational Veolia is faced with opposition by shopkeepers at the Andheri station and other sections of the route who want proper rehabilitation for the loss of their shops and dwellings.

No comments: