Mumbai Trans Harbour Link
|Mumbai Trans Harbour Link|
|Carries||6 lane highway|
|Locale||Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India|
|Other name(s)||Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans Harbour Link|
|Total length||22 kilometres (14 mi)|
|Width||27 metres (89 ft)|
|Design life||100+ years|
|Construction cost||₹93.6 billion (US$1.5 billion)|
|Toll||₹235 (US$3.70) Cars
₹350 (US$5.60) LCV
₹550 (US$8.70) heavy vehicle
Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), also known as Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans Harbour Link, is a proposed 22 km, freeway grade road bridge connecting the Indian city of Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, its satellite city. When completed, it would be the longest sea bridge in India. The bridge will begin in Sewri, South Mumbai and cross Thane Creek north of Elephanta Island and will terminate at Chirle village, near Nhava Sheva. The road will be linked to the Mumbai Pune Expressway in the east, and to the proposed Western Freeway in the west. The sea link will contain a 6 lane highway, which will be 27 meters in width, in addition to edge strip and crash barrier. The project is estimated to cost ₹11000 crore (US$1.7 billion) and is officially estimated to be completed in 2019, although as of 2015, construction has not begun, tendering has not been completed (despite three attempts) and funding remains uncertain.
A bridge between Mumbai and the mainland was first proposed by Wilbur Smith and Associates, who conducted extensive studies and filed a report to the Ministry of Transport on 19 December 1963. Among other projects, the report proposed the construction of a sea link, known as the Uran Bridge, to connect Mumbai with the mainland. Vashi Bridge was built in 1973, for Uran the report recommended waiting until "the Trans-Thana area develops further and more community services are extended to Uran."
The first concrete attempt to build the sea link was made in 2004, when proposals were submitted by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. However, the proposal was side-lined by the government, for undisclosed reasons. Another attempt was made in 2005, when the MSRDC invited bids for the project. A consortium of Reliance Energy (REL) and Hyundai Engineering Construction Company won the bid in February 2008. However, the MSRDC felt the project could not be completed in a timely fashion and did not award the contract.
The State Government called for fresh bids for the project in 2008. However, none of the 13 companies that had shown interest submitted bids. The media criticized the political feud between the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress coalition, as being responsible for slowing "down the pace of Mumbai's development". The MMRDA appointed Arup Consultancy Engineers and KPMG to conduct the techno-economic feasibility of the MTHL in August 2011. The project will be based on a public-private-partnership model. The project received clearance from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on 22 October 2012. The Times of India described the MTHL's delay as being "symbolic of all that's wrong with infrastructure planning and implementaion in Mumbai". The paper also stated that a project being "on the drawing board after more than forty years would be in the realm of fiction in any other country".
Initially, there were plans to have a dual metro line below the road lanes on the bridge. The metro Line was to be extended to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport and connected to the proposed Ranjanpada-Sewood-Kharkopar corridor of the Navi Mumbai Metro and the proposed Sewri-Prabhadevi corridor of the Mumbai Metro. However, the MMRDA scrapped plans for the metro line in 2012, and decided to build only a road bridge. A senior MMRDA official stated, "A detailed study has revealed that laying the foundation for the bridge with provisions for two metro lanes would hike costs instead of save money. Hence, it will be feasible to have a separate bridge for the metro in the future." Another reason given was that the Navi Mumbai International Airport and Sewri-Prabhadevi corridor of the Mumbai Metro were still a long away from completion.
The project received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 23 October 2012. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had obtained clearance for the project in March 2005, but the certificate was valid only for 5 years and lapsed due to the delays in the bidding process. The MoEF laid down 11 conditions that the MMRDA had to follow. Some of the conditions were that the MMRDA take noise abatement measures, replant five times the number of mangroves destroyed, not carry out dredging or reclamation, and consult with the Bombay Natural History Society to minimize the impact on migratory birds. Environmental activists are opposed to the clearance. They point out there was no public hearing following the second application for environmental clearance. They believe that the sea link is not allowed under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011 and would damage bird habitat. The MTHL received coastal regulation zone clearance from the MoEF on 19 July 2013.
On 31 October 2012, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) granted approval in principle for the MTHL. The DEA recommended granting ₹1920 crore (US$300 million) with a concession period of 35 years for the project. The empowered committee approved VGF for MTHL on 12 December 2012. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram cleared the project on 18 January 2013.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) asked the MMRDA to build part of the MTHL at a height of 51 metres instead of the proposed 25 metres. MMRDA said that a height of 51 metres would not be economically feasible, but said they could raise the height to 31–35 metres. The JNPT withdrew their suggestion and issued a No Objection Certificate in January 2013.
In May 2012, the MMRDA shortlisted five consortia for the project: Cintra-SOMA-Srei, Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd.-OHL, Concessions-G.S. Engineering, GMR Infrastructure-L&T Ltd.-Samsung C&T Corpn., IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd.-Hyundai, and Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd.-Autostrade Indian Infrastructure Development Pvt. Ltd.-Vinci Concessions Development V Pte Ltd. None of the five shortlisted firms bid for the project by the deadline, which was extended August 5. IRB-Hyundai had announced their withdrawal from the bidding process, on 31 July 2013, citing "the government's apathy and unfriendly attitude towards investors wanting to develop capital-intensive infra projects". Following the failure of the tender, the MMRDA decided to abandon the PPP model and instead implement the project on cash contract basis.
The project ran into a major hurdle in April 2015, when the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the MoEF withheld its clearance for the project stating that it affects "existing mangroves as well as the flamingo population". The project requires clearance from the Ministry as it will affect 38 hectares of protected mangrove forests and 8.8 hectares of forest land on the Navi Mumbai end. The sea link's starting point poses a threat to an estimated 20,000-30,000 lesser and greater flamingos and the mangrove habitat. The Sewri mudflats are home to 150 species of birds species, and is listed as an "Important Bird Area". The FAC instructed the state government to submit a study report on the project's impact on the flamingo population, and recommended that the government seek the help of either the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) or the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun to conduct the study. The cost of the study will be borne by the MMRDA, which will also have to come with safeguards to cause the least disturbance to the flamingos at Sewri.
On 17 April 2015, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari stated that he favoured the construction of a submarine tunnel instead of a sea link. Gadkari stated that the tunnel would cost less than a bridge (citing the example of the tunnel between Rotterdam and Belgium), and would also be aesthetically preferable as a sea link would obstruct the city's coastline. However, Gadkari clarified that the Union Government would accept the final decision made by the State Government on this matter.
Following a visit to China, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on 20 May 2015, that the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) had expressed interest in the MTHL project. According to Fadnavis, the CCCC will complete the project within 3-4 years of being appointed and will also provide 2% concessional funding for the project.
16.5 km of the MTHL will be in the sea and 5.5 km on land.
- Phase I :- A six lane main bridge will be built from Sewri to Nhava Sheva including approaches at grade near Sewri end, interchange at NH4B near Chirle village and underpasses at road and railway crossings. The length of MTHL road project from Sewri to NH4B is 22 km.
- Phase II:- Dispersal System at Sewri connecting Eastern Freeway and Acharya Donde Marg to MTHL (Sewri interchange).
The project requires 130 hectares of land. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) contributed 88 hectares and the Mumbai Port Trust handed over 13 hectares. The remaining land is privately owned. According to MMRDA officials, land owners will be given the same compensation package as that given in the Navi Mumbai International Airport project.
The cost of the MTHL has increased several times. In 2005, the cost of the project was estimated at ₹4000 crore. The cost was revised to ₹6000 crore in 2008. It was then increased to ₹8800 crore in November 2011 and finally to ₹9360 crore in August 2012. The MMRDA re-evaluated the cost project as about ₹11000 crore (US$1.7 billion) at 2014 prices. The equity component in the project is about 30%, and will be provided by the MMRDA, the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. The remaining 70%, the debt component, will be obtained through a loan from the JICA.
In January 2013, the Central Government had sanctioned ₹1920 crore (US$300 million), which was 20% of the project cost at the time, in viability gap for the MTHL. Under the public private partnership (PPP) basis that the project was proposed to be implemented in, the State Government would also contribute the same amount as the Centre, while the remaining 60% would have been borne by the developer who won the bid. MTHL will be built on a public private partnership basis, The concession period would have been 35 years, which included the time-frame of 5 years for the construction. However, the consortia shortlisted for the project were concerned that 15-20% of the projected traffic for the MTHL, was due to the proposed Navi Mumbai airport, which was heavily delayed. The MMRDA added provision for a shortfall loan to be made available from the central government if traffic is 20% under the estimate.
Although 3 connectors were proposed, the MMRDA plans to only construct the Worli-Sewri connector initially. According to Ashwini Bhide, additional metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA, "To construct the other ramps, the alignment will pass through BDD chawls. Redevelopment of BDD chawls is being considered by the state, so we will take up work on the other ramps at a later date."
Worli – Sewri connector
The Sewri – Worli connector would connect the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link. A new bridge between Worli and Sewri is scheduled for completion by 2017. It will be 4.5 km long The bridge will be cable-stayed. The project is expected to cost ₹490 crore (US$78 million), and be completed in four years.
The MMRDA received bids from 5 companies to construct the Worli – Sewri connector. They were Simplex Infrastructures Ltd, Larsen & Toubro, Hindustan Construction Company, Gammon India and the National Construction Company (NCC). Simplex Infrastructures Ltd quoted the lowest bid (nearly 16-17% below the estimated cost of the project), followed by Larsen & Toubro (14% below the reserve price).
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