BJP announces MTHL inauguration date, MMRDA cites unfinished work

A view of ongoing work of the longest sea bridge in India, the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) Road project, at Sewri, in Mumbai.

The 21.8 km six-lane Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), India’s longest sea bridge, will be opened to the public on December 25, the BJP’s Maharashtra unit asserted.

However, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the government agency overseeing the project said that while over 95% is completed, the remaining tasks might not be finished by December end. The bridge would be the first to have an Open Road Tolling (ORT) system, as a result, vehicles would not have to stop on the bridge for paying toll. Of the 22-km bridge, 16.5 km-long stretch is above the sea.

The MTHL connects south Mumbai to Navi Mumbai, expecting 70,000 vehicles plying on it each day. It is being constructed between Sewri in Mumbai and Chirle in Navi Mumbai and the distance would be covered in 15 to 20 minutes.

The ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sea Link’, as the BJP posted on X (formerly Twitter), is set for inauguration on December 25 this year, coinciding with the late Prime Minister’s birth anniversary, after whom it is to be named.

In May this year, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis visited the MTHL and drove a vehicle on the bridge, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone.

According to some MMRDA officials, essential work, including electrification and toll booths, remains pending, with completion unlikely by December due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that some of the work orders for erecting polls and others were issued in June this year.

Despite the party’s announcement, the Maharashtra government is yet to confirm the inauguration date.

In January, Mr. Fadnavis said that continuous efforts were being made to ease the commute in Mumbaikars’ lives and bring relief from traffic woes and they have also discussed concepts like double-deck and multi-deck tunnels for better public transport.

Further, he said that directions were given to MMRDA, BMC, GoM and respective senior officials working on Integrated Traffic Management Network Systems to study in-depth and submit a feasibility report at the earliest.

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