MMRDA unwilling to spare funds for Thane creek bridge expansion

Thane creek bridge

It feels bridge will compete with MTHL, take away traffic

Despite the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) requesting the city's development authority to allocate funds for the expansion of the Thane creek bridge, the latter is reluctant to pitch in, looking to safeguard its own interest.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is unwilling to fund the bridge as it may snatch traffic from its showpiece Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project. "Our stand is clear. If we have to fund a project we might as well do it ourselves. Secondly, how can MMRDA fund two projects that will compete with each other for traffic? The bidders for the MTHL will also be concerned about it," a senior MMRDA official said.

The Thane creek bridge will add six more lanes to the existing one and greatly reduce congestion at the entrance to Navi Mumbai at Vashi. The first bridge to connect Mumbai to Navi Mumbai was constructed in 1973.

The bridge, however, fell into disrepair and the state government had to construct another one in 1987. It was opened to traffic in 1997.

The 22-km MTHL, on the other hand, will provide a direct link across the harbour from Sewri to Nhava Sheva and provide a faster commute to those traveling from Panvel and Mumbai-Pune Expressway to south Mumbai. The MTHL is also expected to decongest the island city and encourage growth in Navi Mumbai.

The MSRDC is in the process of selecting a consultant for the Thane creek bridge expansion, while the MMRDA is preparing to call for bids for the design and construction of MTHL, which will cost Rs 9,630 crore on a public-private partnership basis.

"We haven't heard from the MMRDA yet about whether they would be funding the Thane creek bridge. The project will cost roughly Rs 400 crore," a senior MSRDC official said.

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