Sonia opens Bandra-Worli sea-link, to be named after Rajiv
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Last Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 09:30
Mumbai, June 30: India's first sea-bridge--the Rs 1,600 crore Bandra-Worli sea-link--that will cut travel time was opened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday and the engineering marvel is to be named after Rajiv Gandhi, a proposal significantly made by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

The 5.6 km state-of-the art cable-stayed bridge providing an alternative route to south Mumbai from the western suburbs became operational ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections due this year-end.

Pawar proposed naming the sea-link after the late premier and Sonia's husband after the formal inauguration and it was immediately accepted by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. It is planned to be called 'Rajiv Gandhi Setu.'

More than 10 years in the making, the landmark bridge that will reduce traffic snarls will provide a free way through the sea, reducing travel time between the two points from the present 60-90-minutes to 6-8-minutes.

Gandhi dedicated the sea-link to the nation after she said the UPA government aims to develop Mumbai as the best city in the world.

"Our objective is to include Mumbai as the most elegant city in the world complete with all amenities," she said assuring Centre's complete support to eliminate all problems faced by the city.

The proposal to name the bridge after Rajiv Gandhi was mooted by Sharad Pawar who said that it was Gandhi who infused scientific temper in the new generation.

"He (Gandhi) sowed the seeds of a telecom and IT revolution and in the last two decades, India and Indians have earned a place of pride in the global IT sector," Pawar said.

The bridge, conceived in the late-1990s, has used steel wires equivalent to the circumference of the earth. the height of the cable-stayed bridge is equal to a 43-storied building.

The project is part of the western freeway sea project to connect Borivalli and distant western suburbs to Nariman Point in south Mumbai.

The eight-lane bridge would help considerably reduce congestion in the Mahim Causeway area, presently the only connection between south Mumbai and the central and western suburbs.

The Mahim Causeway has increasingly become bottleneck-prone as it clocks around 1.25-lakh vehicles daily.

It takes nearly one hour to travel the 8-kilometre distance from Mahim to Worli presently.

The project commissioned by the Maharashtra State Road development Transport Corporation (MSRDC) and Maharashtra Government has been built by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC).

The main span of the cable-stayed portion of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link measuring 500 meters is the largest in India, superseding Vidyasagar Setu in Kolkata and shares the 20th spot with Thailand's Kanchanaphisek Bridge among bridges with the longest span in the world.

The Sutong Bridge over the Yangtze River in China, opened June last year, has the largest span of any cable-stayed bridge at 1,088 meters.

Hong Kong's Stonecutters Bridge has the second longest span at 1,018 meters and with 890 meters, the Tatara Bridge in Japan is the third longest.

Presently, motorists have to pass 23 signals to reach Worli from Bandra. Now the sea-link will provide a smooth 15-minute zip through the 4.8-kilometre stretch.

However, there are fears that the iconic structure could be a prime terror target but the state is not taking any chances.

"We will install 12 security cameras on the sea-link," Joint Commissioner of Traffic, Sanjay Barve, said, adding that the footage would be monitored by both MSRDC and police.

The sea-link will have a state-of-the-art 16-lane toll-station and collection system and three payment modes.

The toll charges will be Rs 50 for a car, Rs 75 for tempo and Rs 100 for a truck and a monthly pass will cost Rs 2,500.

Two-and-three-wheelers will not be allowed to ply the bridge for safety reasons due to possibility of high-velocity winds.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 09:30

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