India's longest sea bridge to open in Mumbai this year
After a decades-long wait, the "longest sea bridge in India" is finally set to open for vehicular traffic in Mumbai later this year. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Wednesday that 90% of the civil work on the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) has already been completed. Shinde also revealed that the 22km-long bridge would be opened in November this year, reported PTI.
Why does this story matter?
- One of MTHL's major benefits is reportedly reducing the transit time between Pune and Mumbai to just 90 minutes. It is expected to reduce travel time between Mumbai, Khandala, and Lonavla by 90 minutes.
- The six-lane bridge is also expected to cater to 70,000 vehicles daily and will be India's first to have an open road tolling (ORT) system, as used in Singapore.
How MTHL will reduce travel time for Mumbaikars
Currently, roads in Navi Mumbai's Nhava Sheva area are quite narrow, leading to traffic jams where vehicles spend about 45 minutes during peak hours. Once the bridge is opened, vehicles would just need to take a 1.5km detour and bypass the congested roads. Moreover, the travel time between Chirle (Navi Mumbai) and Sewri (Central Mumbai) will also be reduced to just 15-20 minutes.
Know about open road tolling (ORT) system
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials revealed the MTHL would have the country's first open road tolling (ORT) system, which is used in Singapore. ORT will allow seamless travel as vehicles will not need to stop on the sea bridge to pay the toll, which will be done electronically. Notably, the bridge is being constructed at a cost of over Rs. 17,000 crore.
MMRDA's latest update on MTHL's construction
On Wednesday, the MMRDA launched the first longest orthotropic steel deck (OSD)—weighing 2,300 metric tons and measuring 180 meters long—in MTHL's second package. The OSD is a steel deck superstructure with lower self-weight compared to concrete or composite girders. However, it can bear the vehicular load more efficiently and increase the bridge's load-carrying capacity in comparison to concrete superstructures for a similar span.
Visuals of Maharashtra CM Shinde at MTHL
#MMRDA #MTHL #CatchupPlan #Milestone— MMRDA (@MMRDAOfficial) January 11, 2023
Today MMRDA in presence of Hon CM Shri @mieknathshinde ji installed 37th Longest OSD in PKG2 of MTHL measuring 180m achieving another significant milestone.The civil work of the project is now approx 90% complete pic.twitter.com/ipLZ55E9Sh
Environmental threats of MTHL project
Environmental activists voiced concerns over MTHL, saying it would affect migratory Greater and Lesser Flamingos. In 2020, former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray attempted to allay their concerns by pointing out such birds could be found along MTHL's construction site. Many expressed apprehensions as flamingo roosting takes place at the site every winter when the birds arrive in the region to escape the Siberian cold.