Sonia opens Bandra-Worli sea-link, to be named after Rajiv

India`s first sea-bridge--the Rs 1,600 crore Bandra-Worli sea-link--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.

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

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

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

"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

Bureau Report