Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Now Open - Finally ! The Bandra-Worli Sea Link

Update : July 1, 2009 : Happened to go on the Worli Bandra Sea Link in the morning at 9:00 am. Waited for two-three minutes to get onto it from the Worli side. Drove at 50 km/hr and managed to get a glimpse of Worli Fort from close quarters and the Mumbai skyline of Shivaji Park and Mahim. Nice smooth ride.... Reached the Bandra Reclamation side within ten minutes BUT as traffic was crawling and lined up on the other side, I decided against using the Sea Link back to Worli. Thus took the regular Mahim causeway/Dargah/Cadell Road route and it was a breeze. Reached Worli in ten minutes. I am sure all those who were using the Sea Link to go to Worli must have taken 40 minutes. All this without the toll collection. Hope these are teething problems else it world be better to use the normal route in peak hours and Sea Link in non-peak.


Picture courtesy - HCC


Years ago in 2002 when they built the Love Grove flyover which is parallel to the Atria Mall (which did not exist then), I wondered what purpose it was going to serve as it just went up and down towards Worli Naka above a very non-descript T-junction leading to Worli Sea face. After seven years of its construction, the construction of this bridge might seem justified due to the opening of the Worli-Bandra Sea Link today inaugurated at the hands of Sonia Gandhi.

After many years of delay and escalation of costs by hundred crores of rupees, I hope India's first Sea Link will ease Mumbai traffic woes. Touted as the third corridor from Worli to Bandra , an alternative to using Tulsi Pipe Road and Cadell/L.J.Road , it remains to be seen if it will not cause problems at the two ends of Worli and Bandra. See this report. The bridge will also consume 1000 kW of power on a daily basis.

The opening of the bridge will throw up many questions which only time will answer like … Will the regular traffic on Cadell Road and L J Road go down?, Will traffic through Bandra Reclamation and Bandra Junction go up?, Will the traffic on Pochkhanawala Road and the Worli Circle where the South Bound traffic to Worli will have to U-turn go up?, Will Haji Ali be clogged more than it already is?, Will the Sea Link be a blessing in disguise and all of the above won’t happen?

I am not an everyday commuter from South Mumbai to Bandra but at Rs 50 for a single trip and Rs 75 for a round trip , I wonder if car owners who travel to and fro everyday will prefer using this bridge. A monthly pass is available for Rs 2500 and multiple entries on the same day are allowed for Rs 125. A Bus/Truck will be charged Rs 100 and a mini-bus Rs 75. Bus tickets will be price one rupee more than the normal fare.

The distance will reduce from 8 kms to 5.6 kms and they say that instead of forty minutes you can travel the distance in ten minutes. If you calculate @ 50 kms per hour(speed limit), it should take you just 6.72 minutes on the bridge plus the extra time coming onto Worli Sea Face to Love Grove junction.

Last year when I was on Worli Sea Face, HCC had put up these boards marketing various aspects of the bridge including that the height of the cable–stay tower is equal to a forty storied building. You will be able to see the tower from any high rise. In fact I could see it from top of the Elephanta Caves hill. I also had a closer view of the bridge one Saturday this month when we were vaccinating dogs against rabies on a hilly slum between Mount Mary and Bandra Reclamation.

Here is an official blog that takes you through the long journey of the construction of the bridge. An You tube link here takes you through the technicalities of the engineering aspect of the bridge and a virtual tour which is posted much before the completion. Another one from Discovery Channel is here.

The bridge would definitely have everyone including me taking a ride, it being a tourist attraction of sorts. Unconfirmed reports say that it will be free for the first five days.(July 1 to 5) The BEST is also going to have an open-bus joy ride going up and down the bridge starting from Bandra-Kurla and going upto Worli. But after the tourist attraction wears off the 1634 crores had better translate into savings of time and fuel for this city.

2 comments:

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