Bandra-Worli Sea Link: A masterpiece of innovative civil engineering

It is Mumbai’s first bridge to be fitted with ‘seismic arresters,’ allowing it to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 7 on the Richter Scale.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which connects Mumbai’s coastline in an arc shape, is a masterpiece of civil engineering. The sea bridge’s towers, standing gracefully against the sky, are connected to steel cables.

It is actually a part of the Western Freeway Sea Project, which aims to improve road connectivity of Greater Mumbai.

The sea link not only gives Mumbai a modern look but also adds to the alternate route options available to people in the busiest states of the country.

Being Mumbai’s first bridge equipped with ‘seismic arresters’, it can even sustain earthquakes having intensity 7 on the Richter Scale.

As per some media reports, it is a special and first-ever project in which cables have been used in the open sea.

Interestingly, the length of steel cables used in this bridge is equal to the circumference of the earth. The weight of this bridge is equal to around 50,000 African elephants while 63 Qutab Minars can be built in its length.

India’s first eight-lane cable-stayed freeway

Bandra-Worli Sea Link was conceptualized as India’s first eight-lane cable-stayed freeway in the 1990s.

However, several Public Interest Litigations (PILS) were filed by environmentalists and fishermen communities against it but were subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The litigations, however, did result in modifications of the bridge’s design. Due to changes in its design, the cost of the project also escalated from Rs 13 billion to Rs 16.5 billion — an increase of 1650 crores.

Imran Kazi/Getty Images

Project completion delayed by five years

Due to these reasons, the work on the Sea Link started in 2000 and could only be completed in 2010. Although, it was opened for public use in 2009.

As per reports, there was a delay of around five years in the completion of this project.

The Sea Link Bridge, commissioned by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited and the Maharashtra government, and built by Hindustan Construction Company, was named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Primarily built as alternative route of Mahim Causeway

Bandra-Worli Sea Link was built primarily for being an alternative route of Mahim Causeway. Prior to the Sea Link, Mahim Causeway was the only bridge connecting various parts of Mumbai including South Mumbai, Western and Central suburbs.

The Sea Link starts in Bandra at the intersection of Mahim and Swami Vivekananda Road and ends at Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan road.

Features and promise of quality

The experts involved in the construction of the Sea Link were from 11 different countries including Egypt, China, Canada, Switzerland, Britain, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Serbia.

All eight lanes of the bridge are available for fast-moving vehicles with limited access, which means that only 4-wheelers and bigger vehicles will ply through the sea route. Two lanes, however, are reserved for buses.

The sea link has been called a ‘smart bridge’ as it is equipped with many state-of-the-art technological tools including sophisticated surveillance, information guidance and emergency support systems among other things.

It is in place to mention here that the bridge facilitated the travel from Mahim to Worli in 8 to 10 minutes, which used to take an hour earlier. It also made travel hassle-free due to a decrease in traffic conjunctions.

The noise pollution and carbon monoxide levels declined in a significant manner in Mahim, Dadar, Worli and Prabhadevi. Also, there are no significant adverse effects on fisheries.

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