Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray has launched the first girder for the country's longest sea bridge, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) on Wednesday. The Chief Minister launched the girder along with top officials of MMRDA at the Mumbai-end of MTHL in Sewri. After the Bandra-Worli sea link, the MTHL is the second road link of this kind to pass over the Arabian sea. The MHTL will connect the mainland of Mumbai to the eastern coast at Chirle and Sewri.
The MHTL is expected to be completed by 2022 and is said to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai from close to 2 hours at present to barely 30 minutes after its completion. The project is estimated to be close to Rs 15,000 crore.
The bridge is said to be 22 km long, of which 16.5 km will run in the sea making it the longest sea bridge in India, and second after the Bandra Worli Sea Link, which is now being extended up to Andheri.
It would connect the new international airport coming up in Navi Mumbai, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway ( country's first expressway) and the Mumbai-Goa Highway. Reportedly MMRDA will install noise and vision barriers along the route, vision barriers to block the view of the sensitive BARC nuclear complex and the noise barrier to protect the movement of Flamingos and other migratory birds at the Sewri mudflats.
Several activists have voiced their concerns over the project because of flamingo roosting that happens at the site every year during the winter months when the birds come to tropical climes to escape the Siberian cold. While speaking at the launch, the Chief Minister addressed the concerns of the activists.
"I had come to see the project because of the concerns. Now you can see there are flamingos on either side of the construction and also along the construction. I think both us and the birds have found a way to co-exist," the Chief Minister said while addressing media.
The project was first cleared by former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in 2012 after which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone in December 2016 by securing all clearances.
(With PTI inputs)