Pandemic and shortage of manpower has affected the ongoing Versova Bandra Sealink (VBSL) work like any other infrastructure project. While the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) which is undertaking this project, is now expecting that the deadline may extend by more than six months from the actual timeline, said an official.
He said, "So far 68 piling work has been completed and one pier construction work has been attained. Still, the majority of work is yet to be completed. However, the contractor has five years of time; the work order was given in the year 2018." In the VBSL project, there are 770 piers which will be at a distance of 50 metres each.
The consortium of Reliance Infrastructure-Astaldi is building the 17-kilometre-long sealink having four connectors at an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore. Three times that of the existing Bandra Worli Sealink. Reportedly, the project was embroiled in controversy over lack of casting yard. It was only in July 2020, that the MSRDC was able to allot an alternate land parcel at Malad to the appointed contractor for casting yard purpose, which was earlier proposed at Juhu beach but due to environmental concern, the proposed land was cancelled.
Meanwhile, the MSRDC has also sent a proposal to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) Nagpur office for land mutation in exchange of constructing of the Versova connector, which is proposed in the mangrove restricted area. The official said, "We are expecting a reply in the next few days following which the work will begin."
The bridge once operational would cater to 60,000 vehicles daily, reducing the travel time between Versova and Worli to 15 minutes.