The plan to build the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Sea Link, also known as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), has brought smiles to many. With the residential and commercial areas expanding  remarkably beyond Greater Mumbai, a significant population travels daily to Vashi, Thane, Kalyan, Vashi and Panvel. The long working hours coupled with the time consuming commute leaves Mumbaikars and Navi Mumbaikars with very little personal time.


The sea link project has been the need of the hour for long. Not only will it result in reducing travel time but the resultant decreased traffic snarls in the city will also help in controlling pollution. Though the project has been delayed , the first structured attempt to build it was in 2004, people of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have a reason to rejoice as the work on the project begins this year.

Those affected by the project due to land acquisition will be benefitting as well. Villagers of around 37 hectares of village land will get a developed land compensation package similar to the one given to those affected by the upcoming Navi Mumbai International airport. It must be noted that the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had decided an allotment of 22.5 per cent of developed land to the airport project affected persons (PAPs). Additionally, the villagers will also enjoy an FSI of 2 for construction on these plots.

CIDCO has planned to offer 50 per cent of the work to PAPs and training to their children. The planning agency will also adopt villages in areas of JNPT and NMSEZ.

Improved Connectivity

The ambitious freeway bridge project, a major infrastructure development, will provide excellent connectivity between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. The bridge will begin at Sewri and terminate near Chirle village near Nhava Sheva in Raigad district via the Thane Creek.

It is expected to reduce the time taken to travel the distance to around half an hour.

Furthermore, it will be linked to the Mumbai Pune Expressway and the proposed Western Freeway. Essentially, this means that the road travel from Mumbai to Pune and Goa will become faster. At the same time, the sea link will enable quicker access to the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport.


The Economics

Like most infrastructure projects in India, the cost for creation of MTHL has increased several times over the years.

The cost estimated in 2005 was Rs 4,000 crore and the current estimation is as much as Rs 11,000 crore.

The equity component of the project will be 30 per cent which will be provided by MMRDA, CIDCO and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). The debt component of 70 per cent will be obtained as a loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The sea link is proposed to have a 22 km bridge with six lanes and will connect Sewri to Nhava Sheva. 16.5 km of the bridge will be over the sea and 5.5 km will consist of a viaduct on land. The project is now scheduled to be completed in 2019 and will comprise two phases:
Phase 1: This will involve building the main six lane bridge from Sewri to Nhava Sheva.
Phase 2: The focus will be on dispersal system at Sewri connecting Eastern Freeway and Acharya Donde Marg to MTHL.

The only disappointment for those travelling by the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Sea Link is that they will have to pay toll as that is how the money spent on the project is planned to be eventually recovered.