Infrastructure supports the development of civilization worldwide. It is one of the major aspects that makes life easier for the people One such infra project that will make life easier for lakhs of people in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai is the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). The much-awaited MTHL is not just a connecting bridge but a new identity for both Mumbai and Navi Mumbai cities. While the bridge will give these cities a new identity it will also ease the challenges for the residents by tackling most of the problems related to travel, accessibility, infrastructure development and socio-economic growth. While a quicker access between the prominent cities will improve inter-city and inter- state travel smoother and faster, it will also boost the economic growth of Navi Mumbai.
What makes Mumbai Trans Harbour Link stand out is not just the fact that it is India’s longest sea bridge but also, the modern bridge technology used by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to overcome challenges of constructing the mega project in the sea.
PRESENT & FUTURE CONNECTIVITY
While talking about the present connectivity between the Mumbai and Navi Mumabi, there are two ways of access, which are the Airoli Bridge and the Vashi Bridge. Both these connecting links put together are near saturation and are not equipped to meet the combined future projected traffic, thereby necessitating creation of additional links to meet traffic growth. In this context, the requirement of MTHL was highlighted by the government, private and public stakeholders.
“Travelling to Mumbai from Navi Mumbai has been a nightmare through the existing bridges as we are stuck in hour’s long traffic most of the times. For, those who work in Mumbai and live in Navi Mumbai, it has become very hectic on a daily basis. It takes more than 2 hours at times due to congestion,” lamented a resident of Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
The plan for the MTHL was drafted at least 35 years ago, but due to several reasons, due to unsuccessful attempts of starting the project in 2006, 2007 and 2013. it continued to get delayed.
The project got a kickstart after it was transferred to MMRDA for its implementation. MMRDA is a body of the Government of Maharashtra that is responsible for preparation of Regional Plan for MMR and the infrastructure development of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It conducted its own Comprehensive Transportation Study in July 2008 which suggested the new ways of construction of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).
Regional Plan for Mumbai Metropolitan Region identified MTHL as important as, it could not merely provide the most efficient solution to Mumbai’s acute accommodation problem, but will provide the most viable solution to open the city of Navi Mumbai for economic opportunities.
The bridge work is now almost 96.60% complete. Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, Commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority recently did a comprehensive inspection of the project and has announced that it will open for public by end of 2023.
THE BENEFITS GALORE
The mammoth sea bridge project comes with a lot of direct and indirect benefits in terms of both economic and social opportunities & growth.
Direct benefits comprise, saving of travel time between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai for the residents, improved accessibility for businesses, smooth traffic flow and enhanced connectivity with port and other states for freight and logistics sector.
The indirect benefits include better utilisation of land in Navi Mumbai, increased demand for real estate, rise in property prices and more business and commercial establishments coming in the city boosting job prospects,
Apart from the overall boost to Navi Mumbai economy, its better integration with Mumbai Pune, Panvel and Alibaug cities will help bring in more land parcels that will enable further dispersion of population as well as opening up of newer regions for development.
MTHL AND THE REAL ESTATE
MTHL and its associated connecting projects are projected to increase the state GDP by at least 5%. This is bound to have a direct impact on the real estate of Mumbai and the surrounding areas. The improved connectivity between Navi Mumbai, Panvel, Karjat, Kalyan, Badlapur, Dombivli, Turbhe, Ghansoli, Airoli, Ulwe, Dronagiri, Ambernath, and Vasai, among other will boost the demand for homes here, especially in the affordable and mid-segment housing. This in turn will enhance social infrastructure, retail, and integrated township developments.
According to a recent report by industry experts, the office landscape of Navi Mumbai and Vasai Virar region is expected to transform mainly due to strong infrastructure projects and access to talent pool driving development in this region. The upcoming MTHL is expected to enhance not just the regional connectivity but also make the region a multi modal hub in regional plan of MMR.
As per the developers, Mumbai, Thane and New Mumbai have played home to IT/ ITES sector and the next emerging and lucrative destinations that till now were far suburbs, will become potential mainstream destinations of IT/ITES companies. The early movers to these locations can find lucrative deals as the property prices will shoot up after opening up of MTHL.
Highlighting the importance of the sea bridge,, the developers have opined that many retail brands are already contemplating setting up their shops in Navi Mumbai region due to low rentals and relatively affordable real estate prices and most contributing factor is growing population, which creates potential customer base for these businesses and workforce. Improved connectivity makes this region an attractive bet.
In a broader context for Navi Mumbai citizens, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link has come as a relief and will make the suburb emerge as a vibrant satellite city to Mumbai, probably similar to what Gurugram and Noida have proved to be for Delhi.
Mumbai Trans Harbour Link is the result of the need to decongest Mumbai, an already overcrowded and saturated city and promote Navi Mumbai’s development by enhancing connectivity to Mumbai.
The country’s longest sea bridge spans 21.8 kilometers in length with width of 30.1 metres. It will connect Sewri on Mumbai Island and Nhava on the mainland (Navi Mumbai) Constructed between Sewri and Nhava, it will help connect the two prominent cities of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai with travel time of just 20 minutes. The MTHL will eventually provide faster connectivity to the Mumbai-Goa highway, Mumbai-Pune expressway, Navi Mumbai International Airport and the JNPT port.
The sea bridge technology comprises modern wind tunnel testing for Orthotropic steel deck (OSD) bridge design, tuned mass dampers (TMDs), Reverse circulation drilling (RCD), full scale vehicle impact testing for new crash barrier design and seismic hazard analysis for design. Other unique features of the Sea bridge include automated toll collection system and intelligent transport system. The 1,212 lighting poles installed on the bridge are equipped with a Central Control & Monitoring System (CCMS) and a Lightning Protection System to prevent potential damage caused by lightning. They have been designed to withstand weather related challenges in the deep sea.