The construction of the third bridge on Vashi creek is all set to begin, with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation issuing orders for the project costing Rs.775 crore. The deadline for the bridge is 2023 and L&T will build most of it.
The bridge has been proposed to reduce the load on the existing bridge between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, especially with the proposed international airport coming up in Panvel. The project couldn’t start earlier because of the litigation in the Bombay High Court over cutting of mangroves for it. The matter was settled in December 2019, but work couldn’t start; first because of the pending land-handover issue and then the pandemic.
It has now been decided that afforestation of mangroves is mandatory and will be done at Erangal in Borivali. The MSRDC will cut 430 mangroves on a land parcel of 1.4 acres, which has been handed over to MSRDC by the forest department.
There are already two bridges on Vashi creek. The earlier, smaller bridge was built in 1973 and declared unsafe for heavy vehicles over 20 years ago: it’s now used only by light vehicles. The second six-lane bridge was built in 1994. It was recently widened, but the Sion-Panvel highway still faces massive traffic jams at Vashi toll naka and in Mankhurd. The proposed new bridge, called the northern carriageway, will come up on the eastern side of the second bridge.