Bandra-Versova sealink approved

The long-pending Bandra-Versova sealink proposal was approved by the state government on Wednesday. An infrastructure sub-committee gave its nod to the three-year-old proposal that is estimated to cost `5,000 crore.
“The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will soon float tenders for the project, which will be an extension of the Bandra-Worli Sealink,” an official from MSRDC said after the meeting. The MSRDC has been consistently pursuing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to get the final approval for important projects like the sealink.
“The distance between Bandra to Versova is approximately 10.1 km. It will have six lanes. The main objective of the project is to provide an alternative for traffic going to the city from western suburbs,” the official said. The original idea was to connect the western suburbs via sealink to Nariman Point, but the second phase of the Worli-Haji Ali sealink became controversial, and the government backed out of it.
The project will be given on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis to a chosen company after the tender process. The commuters will have to pay toll like the Bandra-Worli Sealink, however, the exact toll is not yet known at this primary stage, the official added.
The Bandra-Varsova sealink project has been in limbo since the chief minister announced that coastal roads were a cheaper transport medium over sealinks. One of the reasons given by the chief minister for favouring the coastal road was that it had less environmental hurdles as compared to a sealink. He even asked the BMC to conduct a feasibility study on coastal roads for Mumbai.
Additionally, a proposal of Pune Ring Road was also approved in the meeting. However, vital projects like east and west coast water transport for Mumbai are yet to be sanctioned.

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