Mumbai: Adding a 21.8-km feather to the country’s infrastructure cap, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link between Sewri in Mumbai and Nhava Sheva in Raigad district .
The trans harbour link, also known as the Atal Setu, is India’s longest sea bridge and will reduce the time taken for the journey between the two points from the current hour and a half to around 20 minutes.
Constructed at a cost of ₹ 17,840 crore, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) has six lanes, and 16.5 km of the bridge’s length is over the sea.
Officials said that, apart from bringing Mumbai and Navi Mumbai closer, the Atal Setu – named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee – will help ease traffic and enhance transportation, and also serve as an engine of economic growth.
The MTHL will provide faster connectivity to the Mumbai International Airport and the Navi Mumbai International Airport and also reduce travel time from Mumbai to Pune, Goa and South India. It will boost connectivity between the Mumbai Port and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
Earthquake Resistant, Open Tolling: The Atal Setu is India’s first sea bridge to implement an open road tolling system, which will allow vehicles to pass through toll booths at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour without having to stop.
IIT Bombay had been roped in to strengthen the Atal Setu during its construction in 2018, and a team worked to ensure the design was done keeping in mind that it falls under a moderate earthquake damage risk zone. Professor Deepankar Choudhury, Head of Civil Engineering at IIT Bombay, said that the bridge is built to withstand four different types of earthquakes of up to 6.5 magnitude.
According to a report by news agency ANI, the lights used on the bridge were also chosen carefully to ensure that they do not disturb the aquatic environment.
“This is India’s longest bridge built on the sea. Several technologies have been used in the making of this bridge, which are used for the first time in India. The lights used in this bridge do not disturb the aquatic environment,” Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, Commissioner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, was quoted as saying.
The toll on the bridge for cars will be ₹ 250 for a single journey and ₹ 375 for a return journey, which has been criticised by opposition parties as being too high. Officials, however, pointed to fuel savings, saying that would be ₹ 500 per journey. The speed limit for four-wheelers will be 100 kmph. Two-wheelers, auto rickshaws, tractors, animal-drawn vehicles and slow-moving vehicles will not be allowed on the bridge.