While announcing the decision, State public works minister and chairman of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) Anil Deshmukh expressed confidence that the much-delayed 5.8-km Mumbai sea link will become operational by January next year.
The bidding process for the project will be completed and work orders be issued for the extension project by the end of this year, he claimed.
The extension project will be carried out on a build-operate-own-transfer (BOOT) basis and the successful bidder will also have to buy out MSRDC from Bandra-Worli Sea link project.
The successful bidder will get rights to collect toll on both the sea links for next thirty years. The MSRDC is expected to incur a cost of Rs 1,640 crore on the Bandra-Worli sea link.
Nearly 78 per cent of the work of the project has been completed, Deshmukh said, adding the sea link would reduce the travel time between Bandra and Worli from present 60-75 minutes to 7 minutes when it opens up for public by January next year.
At present around 140,000 vehicles pass through bridge on the Mahim creek everyday, which is the only road link between the island city and its western suburbs. Once sea link is open for traffic, it will attract at least 80 per cent of the traffic from the Mahim creek.
The Bandra-Worli sea link, which was suppose to become operational by 2004, got delayed as project got entangled in litigation over environmental issues and resistance from local fishermen community.
After MSRDC assured to change the alignment, the project was cleared by the Supreme Court. The change in alignment and delays increased the cost of the project from Rs 400 crore to Rs 1,600 crore.
Deshmukh said the state government had to put the sea link between Worli and Nariman point on hold as only two bidders had come forward and finally only one bidder submitted the bid document.
The minister said various options like underground tunnel between Haji Ali and Nariman point, a combination of tunnel and sea link, and the extension of Marine Drive were being considered and the state government had appointed consultant to weigh the pros and cons of all the options.