A Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium, on September 4, 2018, inked a pact with state-owned Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), for the construction of the Rs 7,000-crore Versova-Bandra Sea Link in Mumbai, which has been pending for close to a decade.
The construction is expected to start from October 2018 and will have a five-year time frame, to commission it from the appointed date.
Once completed, the 17.7-km bridge on the Arabian Sea, will drastically reduce the journey time between the western suburbs of Bandra and Versova in Andheri to just 15 minutes, from nearly two hours at present, said Radheyshyam Mopalwar, vice-chairman and managing director of MSRDC.
The consortium of Anil Ambani-led RInfra and Italian multi-national construction major Astaldi, had earlier bagged the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the project on a competitive bid basis. The consortium had emerged as the most competitive bidder, with their bid of Rs 6,993.99 crores.
“Our plan is to start work from the next month. Once completed, the Versova-Bandra Sea Link will bring relief to the traffic congestion of Mumbai and will also provide great comfort to travellers,” said Mopalwar.
The length of the main eight-lane sea link will be 9.6 kms and it would have three connectors, one each at Bandra, Carter Road and Juhu, he added. The Versova-Bandra Sea Link will be three times longer than the existing 5.6-km-long Bandra-Worli Sea Link and would have three toll collection points.
The total project cost is Rs 11,332.82 crores and the engineering cost, today, is Rs 7,000 crores, he said, adding that the MSRDC will put in 20-30 per cent equity in the project, besides raising loans.
“Our plan is to put 20 per cent (Rs 1,500 crores) equity and the rest will be through domestic borrowings, which are almost tied-up,” said Mopalwar. The MSRDC has the capability to raise Rs 5,000 crores but he said, ‘without financial closure for the project, we will not give the letter of acceptance’.
Vineet Jalan, chief executive officer, RInfra, said the existing sea link carries 10 lakh vehicles per annum, while the Versova-Bandra Sea Link is expected to serve nearly 10 times, or one crore vehicles, annually. Besides, RInfra-Astaldi, L&T-Samsung and Hyundai Development Company-ITD were the other bidders in fray. “Although the project duration is five years, we effectively have only three-and-a-half years to complete it, as work would be stalled for three months every year during monsoon,” said Jalan. However, he added that the company is confident that with its partners, it shall be able to complete the project ahead of time.
The largest order executed by Astaldi SpA is Izmit Bay Bridge (Gebze-OrhangaziIzmir Motorway Project) in Turkey, with USD seven billion (Rs 45,500 crores) investment for the entire project, RInfra said in a statement. Besides, Astaldi has also executed the Western High Speed Diameter Motorway in Saint Petersburg in Russia, with a 2.2 billion-euro contract value.