Atal Setu was ready six months before deadline, claims MMRDA chief | Mumbai news

Atal Setu was ready six months before deadline, claims MMRDA chief | Mumbai news

The 21.8-km-long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) was scheduled to be completed by June 2024, but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) asked the contractors to put workers in three shifts and got the bridge ready on December 25, sixth months before the deadline, said MMRDA commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee on Thursday.

MTHL was ready six months before deadline, claims MMRDA chief
MTHL was ready six months before deadline, claims MMRDA chief

MTHL that connects Sewri in south Mumbai to Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai through the longest sea bridge in the country will be thrown open to the public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

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Speaking to HT, Mukherjee said, “Initially, I made the workers do two shifts. But when the contractors told me that they could complete the work by June 2024 or earliest by March 2024, we made the workers come in three shifts. The major challenge was the extended monsoon. I had clearly instructed the contractors to ensure there must not be any deaths while accelerating work.’’

“Overall, seven workers had died, and those deaths were reported before I took charge in July 2023,” he said, adding though the sea link was ready on December 25, a few days were required to get traffic clearance and toll gazette, a document in which toll rates are notified by the relevant authority.

Though MMRDA had proposed a one-way toll of 500 per car the state cabinet reduced it by half to 250. Asked if this would delay the recovery of costs, Mukherjee said, “Let us see how many vehicles take this bridge. In metro projects, passengers’ footfall is less but in road projects it is more.’’

Mukherjee further said they are going to try open road tolling on MTHL which will be another first in India.

“In open road tolling, we will not use barricades. Normally, there is a boom barrier; the vehicle’s fast tag is read and then it passes. In this case, the fast tag reader is advanced; a picture of the car is taken from a distance and the boom barrier doesn’t come down. We will watch this for a month and then we will take a call on whether to make it a hybrid model – open road tolling and traditional way,” the commissioner said.

Connectivity with MTHL

Several planners have said that the Sewri-Worli connector is yet to reach its completion stage and MTHL is incomplete without it. Mukherjee, however, disagrees. “The connector is a separate project, and it was joined to MTHL in the last minute. There is also an issue of rehabilitation, and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is tackling it. The connector will be complete by March 2025,”

He further said they had joined many projects to MTHL like the coastal highway from Palm Beach Road to Ulwe which would connect the sea link to the new airport in Navi Mumbai. “We are also planning to connect MTHL to the proposed multimodal corridor between Virar and Alibaug as well.”

400 cameras to keep a watch

Mukherjee said the speed limit on MTHL has been fixed at 100 kmph and on turns it is 40 kmph. “There are nearly 400 cameras installed on the bridge to maintain surveillance while thermal cameras will detect speeding in fog. The home department is issuing a notification to two police stations – the one in Sewri will have jurisdiction up to the first 10.8 km of the bridge and the remaining length will be covered by the one in Uran.”

Work on many metro projects in Mumbai, which has been stuck during the lockdown, has speeded up, Mukherjee said. “Completion of metro works is now our focus.”

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