MSRDC, MMRDA fail to bridge Rs 600-crore gap

It appears to be a bridge too far for state authorities. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s Rs 600-crore proposed bridge plan, extending over the Thane creek and joining Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, may not materialise as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) intends to write a letter to MSRDC, saying that it would not be able to fund the venture as it has its own projects to look after. It should be noted that senior MSRDC officials in the past had said that they have an ambitious plan of constructing a new bridge parallel to the old one over Thane creek.

Joining hands: If MSRDC’s project gets underway, the existing Airoli Bridge between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai over Thane creek will have two other three-lane bridges on either side. FILE PIC  

All the way
Speaking to MiD DAY last month, MSRDC chief engineer S Nandargikar had said, “As the present bridge linking Mumbai and Navi Mumbai has only three lanes for either direction, while the total number of lanes on the Sion-Panvel Express Highway is much more, we have plans to construct a new bridge parallel to the Airoli Bridge.”

Nandargikar had even said that the estimated cost of the two bridges is Rs 600 crore, and so MSRDC would be securing financial aid from MMRDA and CIDCO for the same. However, when we questioned a very senior MMRDA official about the approximate amount of financial assistance that it would dispense to MSRDC, he maintained that they wouldn’t bear the cost of the venture.

“Why should we fund a project that MSRDC is planning? First of all, MSRDC should understand that there is no need for a bridge as MMRDA is already going to construct the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). Rather than wasting time and money, MSRDC should first conduct proper research before giving a project the go-ahead,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Cash crunch
It has been reported that MSRDC is facing a financial crisis. It was also because of this that the elaborate MTHL project, which was earlier expected to be implemented by MSRDC, was later transferred to MMRDA. “We will be writing to MSRDC that we won’t be able to finance the venture as we have to look after our own projects also. But if the government asks us to fund them, then we certainly will,” added the senior MMRDA official.

What is the plan of MSRDC?
According to the plan, two bridges — on either side of the existing one — will be constructed. Each of these will have three lanes. The estimated cost of the bridges is Rs 600 crore. At the moment, documentation work is on and the ground is being prepared to invite bids from interested parties. 

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