Mumbai Trans Harbour Link

News Excerpt:

The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is a 22-km-long bridge connecting Sewri in the Mumbai City to Chirle in Raigad district on the mainland.

Background developments: 

  • The concept of a bay crossing linking Mumbai to the mainland was initially proposed in 1963 by the American construction consultancy firm Wilbur Smith Associates. The plan was revived in the late 90s, and the first tenders were floated in 2006.
  • In February 2008, Reliance Infrastructure emerged as the preferred bidder. They pledged to construct and recover the costs of the bridge, but later they withdrew from the project.  
  • Subsequent bidding processes proved unsuccessful, leading to a change in the nodal agency from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
  • The MTHL project gained momentum when the MMRDA secured funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), covering 80% of the project cost. The remaining portion was allocated to the state and central governments.
  • After finalizing the deal and completing the tendering process, construction work commenced in early 2018. 
  • The total expenditure on the project amounted to Rs 21,200 crore, with Rs 15,100 crore being a loan from JICA.

About the new sea link project: 

  • It is officially called Atal Setu Nhava Sheva Sea Link.
  • The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is a six-lane, twin-carriageway bridge spanning 22 kilometers over Thane Creek in the Arabian Sea. 
  • It connects Sewri in the island city of Mumbai to Chirle in Raigad district on the mainland. 
  • The project encompasses a 16.5 km sea link and on-land viaducts at both ends with a combined length of 5.5 km.
  • Objective: It is Designed to enhance connectivity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which includes Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, and Raigad districts, the MTHL aims to boost the economic development of the region.
  • By significantly reducing travel time, particularly between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, the MTHL will alleviate congestion on the current route over the Vashi bridge.

How MTHL will help: 

  • The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) is expected to reduce travel time between Sewri and Chirle from 61 to less than 16 minutes, with an estimated 40,000 daily vehicles in 2024. 
  • It aims to enhance economic integration between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai, with benefits extending to Panvel, Alibaug, Pune, and Goa.
  • Upcoming Navi Mumbai airport is 14 km from Chirle, so MTHL will ease the approach from South Mumbai. 

Concerns related to MTHL:

Despite the anticipated benefits for overall development, doubts persist regarding the MTHL's practicality for daily travel between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

  • The Rs 250 toll for a one-way crossing is considered high, and the bridge's landing points on the mainland are more than 10 km away from major residential areas, potentially increasing commuting costs. 
  • Additionally, there is currently no announcement of dedicated public transport facilities, like buses on the bridge.

Way forward: 

To address concerns and enhance the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link's usability for daily commuters, several following steps can be considered. 

  • Firstly, reassess the toll structure to make it more commuter-friendly. 
  • Secondly, establish shuttle services or dedicated bus lanes connecting the bridge landing points to major residential areas.
  • Community engagement and feedback mechanisms should be implemented to continually refine and optimize the project based on commuters’ needs.

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