Western suburbs' residents say they have been paying price for the delay, MSRDC claims bridge could be finished by 2026
The 17.7-km-long bridge will connect the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (pictured) with Versova. Pic/Rane Ashish
- It will help resolve commuting issues and prevent traffic jams on the WEH
- The structure connects the Bandra-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) with Versova
- An MSRDC official told this newspaper that 10 per cent of the work has been completed
While the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) project has received coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance from the ministry of environment forest and climate change (MoEF&CC), citizens residing in the western suburbs have demanded that the long-delayed project be completed as soon as possible.
According to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), “The MoEF&CC vide their letter dated August 16, 2023, has accorded CRZ clearance for the proposed VBSL project. The copies of the said clearance letter are available with the offices of the district collectorate, sub-divisional magistrate and local tehsil as well as Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).”
People living in Versova, Andheri West, Jogeshwari, Oshiwara, Goregaon and Malad have been eagerly awaiting the project’s completion because it will help resolve commuting issues and prevent traffic jams on the Western Express Highway (WEH), SV Road and the link road between Bandra and Andheri. The structure connects the Bandra-end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) with Versova and the estimated cost of the entire project is Rs 11,332.82 crore.
Dhaval Shah, chairman of Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association, said, “The VBSL project is of utmost importance as the Coastal Road and BWSL will get northbound traffic only up to Bandra. Further northward connection options are currently overloaded. The VBSL needs to be finished before 2026 as it is long overdue. The delay has cost taxpayers time, energy and money due to traffic jams, and cost overruns plus high tolls when it is finally opened will burn a big hole in pockets.”
In 2019, MSRDC signed a contract agreement with Reliance Infrastructure and its international joint venture partner, the Italian company Astaldi, for the construction of the 17.7-km-long VBSL. However, the project will be carried out by WeBuild, a firm owned by Astaldi and its new joint venture partner APCO. Reliance Infra has given its shares to its partner and is no longer involved in the project.
An MSRDC official told this newspaper that 10 per cent of the work has been completed. After the monsoon, work will take place in full swing and could be finished by 2026, the official said. Once completed, the project is expected to save commuters 45 to 60 minutes. According to MSRDC officials, the project will have indirect benefits such as a reduction in the maintenance cost of vehicles, an increase in land appreciation, an increase in job opportunities and an improvement in drivers’ mental peace as well as environmental benefits.
Toll and connectors
The one-way toll is expected to be between Rs 170 and Rs 200. The MSRDC has plans to set up three connectors. The first will connect VBSL to Bandstand, the second will pass over New Link Road and SV Road and touch WEH, the third is to be from the Nana Nani connector (Seven Bungalows-Versova) to WEH.