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Bandra Worli Sea Link opens - any lessons for Bangalore?

Was watching TV in my Bombay hotel this morning. They were covering the Bandra Worli Sea link live.  Today being the first day, it might be not vey representative - but traffic had piled up at the entrances and exits and the normal land route was apparently quicker.  People have taken this route just to experience it.  It took many people 45 mins to cover the 6 or 7 km. 
Our collective megalomania seems to have deep roots.  We somehow have this fascination for these huge structures starting from the Egyptians.  I think this will solve Bombay's traffic problems just about as well as the pyramids made the Pharoahs' life after death comfortable.  Years later I think our children will laugh at our stupidity of going this way if they can see the humour in it. 
These experiments have been done in Bangkok, Beijing, LA and rarely have more roads solved the problem of more cars. Cars are to a liveable city what cancer is to a human body.  And we are trying to solve it by doing a heart bypass.  Hopefully once the "we also have world class infrastructure" glow fades, people will realize that mass transport is the only way forward when 6 or 10 million people live in 500 sq km.  This 1600 crores could have built 25 or 30 km of Metro (or even more considering when it started) from Bandra to Nariman Point and would have been completed 5 years back.
Bangalore planners still think they can add roads to keep up with vehicular growth.  Our planners see our city only as a network of thoroughfares between our homes and offices.  BETL is supposed to open in a couple of months - lets see what it does.
P.S. Sorry about the formatting.  Trying to put in paragraphs, but they don't show up on posting
Vasanth's picture

With 4 lanes on either sides 1 should have been bus lane

One of the lane on the sealink should have been bus lane or should have been reserved for the upcoming Mumbai Metro to run 'on grade' on this sealink. It would have benefitted all class of people and  moved most of the people faster rather than limiting to those who have the 'money'.

narayan82's picture


It does have a bus lane on either side. Thats what I heard on the news.


I agree with Srivatsa - roads are not a solution to more cars! I did read in the paper that we are getting 1000 new busses in Bangalore - low floor/A/C etc - as an initiative to get car users to switch. I'm glad someone in the ministry thinks that way.

I just see these monstrocities - a money making swindle! The contract greases and pleases too many vested interests. Where as a mono rail or an effective bus transport system doesnt do as much. And i think that is the crux of this all!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
sathyanak's picture

I completely agree with

I completely agree with yajaman. As long as each and every one demands the luxury of driving their personal cars,  and as long as newer private vehicles mercilessly flood our roads daily, no matter what we have name it the expensive bridges, flyovers, underpasses , elevated expressway or any fancy names, our streets will continue to be clogged. No doubt such projects can he helpful, but in a spree to emulate a 'success' in a different country, we just cannot spend crores on any project without determining the root cause of the problem. What is the need of the hour in any of our cities be it Bangalore or Mumbai, is a clean , safe and effiicient public transport and a strong will within the govt circles and even the public to discourage the usage of private vehicles. I remember a debate in the UK few years ago, where the govt planned to increase the number of lanes in an overcrowded motorway and some sane people advised that any amount of 'widening' wont help as number of cars are daily added to the roads and instead invest in the Railways. What we need is a pragmatic and a sensible approach.
asj's picture

Watch the space

I have been exchanging e-mails with independent transport planners / NGOs in Mumbai for a while.

HCC built it, people marvel it, etc.

Yet the fact is that until last few weeks hardly any thought had been given to entry and exit routing. Much of the time saved is nullified here and there is no way out of this, it was a reality denied and hidden.

The other unscientific adventure would have been if they had persisted with original idea of speed limit of 100 KPH (they have now reduced speed limit to 50KPH and 30KPH at turns). Thankfully novices like me have managed to get our voice heard. No one in position of authority had done any planning around stopping distances and inverse relation bewteen speed and capacity. Few of us outsiders poked and asked, what will happen at two acute angle turns on either ends at such fast speeds. Delhi has set us a nice example of 7 odd vehicles being flung over a flyover at sharp turning points. What is Mumbai's disaster management plan - do they have chopers to air lift, life gaurds and news on these fronts.

Long time ago, a UK firm as consultants suggested this ought to be a rail route - who cares about mass transit. The bus lanes have been agreed not because any one in authority had a bright spark or soft corner for public transport - its on the back of a major lobbying done by NGO groups. Sadly, the BEST will pay Rs 3000 per bus per month as toll charges - so much for supporting public/mass transit.

Its FREE for travel for 5 days and then toll begins. Once the toll starts an estimated 75K vehicles will use it (work out what % that is out of Mumbai's 1 million vehicles). 

50% of Mumbai commutes to work by walking!! 40% use buses and trains (which do 12 million passenger trips a day). 

The money spent on sea link = 6000 brand new buses of decent make. Its a no brainer as to how the money could have been used for maximum benefit of maximum people (rather than less than 2% vehicle owners). 

The High Court has asked BMC to implement traffic restraining scheme (this is a PIL langushing since 8 or more years) - authorities are yet to respond to this. Ironically, the best example of congestion charge helping alleviate congestion will come in the form of the sea-link!! The toll charge at Rs 50/- will be the sole reason why the sea link traffic will run smoothly (for a couple of years as by then half a million more vehicles will crop up). If for a moment we imagine there was no toll, that all the money was a donation by a sheikh in Dubai...........imagine the number of vehicles making a bee line to use the latest road that promises a faster ride (anyone who understands concept of stopping distances will know, more cars = less speed), imagine the induced congestion (a jargon from transport world). So, believe it or not, if my hypothesis is right, we will be giving ourselves a proof of congestion charging / traffic restrain schemes working. 

BTW - BRTS is in limbo, much due to idiotic median flyovers on the two highways of Mumbai - no one has figured out how to implement a la Bogota. In the mean time - unheard, un-advertised, untalked about - a kerb side bus lane has been in operation on one side of Haji-Ali with an increase in speed and throughput of buses by 30%. There is now growing recognition of the fact that every bus priority trick needs to be considered rather than just Bogota style BRT.

Finally, unrelated but related, MMRD continues its spending spree - 61 skywalks are being planned. This despite the fact that Metro cinema pedestrian subway with lifts, gaurds and lights (all life long overheads) is not used by even 100 people in an hour (pretty much the same with Bandra skywalk which is a good 1km or so long). Metro cinema subway cost 20 crores - all money which could have made for more buses in Mumbai (which has 3.3K buses doing 4.7 million passenger trips per day, and these buses could double their load factors if there were more buses).

Someone sent me an e-mail suggesting - look at the bright side. Delhi got cycle lanes because of BRT. Someone sent me an e-mail 2 weeks ago of pre-opening sea link and said 'what a majestic view it gave us of Mumbai'. My response - its tragic that we need a BRT to get  a cycle lane, its even more tragic we need a coastal road to appreciate our coastline.

Of course, there will be contrary views.......the floor is open.


sanchitnis's picture

More CBDs needed in Mumbai

Whats the point in bringing in more people into South Mumbai everyday? More investment should be done to create world class CBDs with good connectivity in Suburbs.


rs's picture

Regarding the entry and exits.

As is well reported - the effective time saved by the BWSL is 10 minutes - as while traversing the 6 km hardly takes any time entering and exiting will cause delays. Similar problems exist in Bangalore - essentially the main problem with Bangalore roads is not the wideness of the roads but the mismanagement of the junctions.

This morning I was driving to Yelahanka through the new road through Jalahalli AFB. At the end of the AFB is this village of MS Palya which the BBMP demolished to build a double road. However while the road is good and well made, there is a junction at MS Palya which is disasterous. There used to be a small circle there and that still exists. The problem is that people go any old way around the circle - some clockwise, as they should, and some counter clockwise. The BMTC busses go counter clockwise and in fact stop in the middle effectively blocking oncoming traffic. A simple solution would be to locate the bus stop on the other side making it easier for people to wait and also it would solve the problem of blocking the road. But this kind of thinking does not seem to exist. What I have given is one example of a million problems in Bangalore which can be solved if a couple of minutes thought is given to them. But it appears people dont care and are willing to adjust to anything.

asj's picture

Junction capacity


You have highlighted a very subtle but massively important yet completely overlooked point - junctional capacity i.e. ability to optimise how many vehicles enter and exit a junction in specified time.

I have been collecting material for a presentation in Mumbai to be done by someone tomorrow and came across a fine correspondence between TFL and a road user. TFL clearly state that actually taking out one lane as a bus lane has no impact in making life difficult for vehicles provided junction capacities are managed - road width has no relationship with throughput and a single lane can do just as much work as 2 lanes.


srkulhalli's picture

Can you explain it ?

This is basic (very basic, I must say) common sense.  If you are spending 1600 crores on a sea-link, make sure the entry and exit can handle the peak load, find out in absolute terms if the traffic congestion reduction pays back  the cost.

Surely, building a structure like that is non-trivial. It needs good engineerign, good management. There must be many intelligent people running that project. Dumb people cannot create something like that. How can nobody question the premise on which the project is being done.

Where is the missing link (pun not intended)? I


idontspam's picture

Generational gap in integration

 Where is the missing link (pun not intended)?

My belief is, as with all projects, only the bridge was awarded to the private contractor who did a good job. It is the job of the BMC to ensure the surrounding streets integrate well at the planning stage itself.

This is a standard fault we see in the stuff our corporations build. We build superhighways with a different standard which connect to surface streets maintained by people a few generations behind. Obviously they dont integrate well. The standard of the local corporations need to quickly catch up else we will have more such ugly miracles

blrsri's picture

lane driving is commendable

there may be negatives in the way ppl are  using it..but one thought we get when we see the stuck traffic on the bridge is that they are in perfect lanes and no ` one is violating lanes.


that is something to be appreciated and practiced here in blr! 

Nitinjhanwar's picture

Contractor's Liability as per Contract General Conditions.

 It is the Contractor's Liability to maintain the same level of traffic flow during

construction for inetersecting roads on the Project Highway for at least 0.5 kms.

1.0 The Contractor may claim extra for specific site conditions.

2.0 The ultimate responsibility will be the Contractor's for not doing the

improvement at entry and exit unless the BMC/MMRDA has not authorised him

in writing.

Lets say its like this if you are given a contract for writing letters the language

has to that which is prevalent e.g. english,hindi or telgu.. you cannot

write a letter in chinese for Indians.

Nitin Jhanwar







asj's picture

HCC is a stake holder

HCC can't escape the blame in the event of failure. MMRD outsourced every bit of the project to consultants of all kinds. The only reason why the link will work for those who have extra cash is the toll charge which is going to act as a traffic restraint scheme. And as vehicle numbers shoot up over time and people's ability to pay Rs 50/- the only thing which will avert a complete gridlock is further increase in toll.

These guys, including the private players had 10 years to plan for this, rather they had 10 years to be openly honest about the reality that a link can be built, that is not a problem if there is money, the entry and exits were never going to be any different unless the rich people's bunglow's and posh flats were pulled down.

These roads have exsisted for decades, the link is an add-on, why should anyone have expected, fantasised about unrealistic results other than what we have witnessed and what we will see once the charge starts.


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Magadi Road/Okalipuram to Rajajinagar Entrance link road

There is a BBMP proposal to link Magadi Road loop road to Sujata Road - directly to Rajajinagar Entrance - Dr.Raj Kumar Road.  The terrain between former Minverva Mill spot to Rajajinagar Entrance is highly depressed and resembles a valley.  A huge pilon over the wide storm water drain right opposite to old Sujata Theatre would be the right place for a load bearing central structure for such connecting road.  

This kind of sea link bridge design or a Cable Stayed hanging bridge like in KR Puram area may be cost effective with less problems associated with land acquisition.  - Just a thought..

- Vasanth Mysoremath

Rithesh's picture

Public transport ignored again

I dont intend to start a class war here but like most ultra expensive city road projects like this one - public transport takes a back seat.

BEST has reportedly decided not to use the sea link. The toll on BEST buses is fixed at Rs.100 per bus per trip - which according to me is absolutely ridiculous. They should rather charge more on the cars as a BEST surcharge and allow unrestricted access to the BEST buses (i have no idea about Mumbai's transport - but if there is need they should also dedicate a lane to high capacity vehicles - BEST and private buses).

This what BEST chairman had to say - "We will not run BEST buses till the State Government reduces the toll charges. If more trips are to be made per day, we will have to pay more for the toll charges and may have to increase the fares."

More here.

s_yajaman's picture

Traffic on BWSL on Sunday

See this picture from the Mumbai Mirror.

Yes it was free, but it goes to show that it is futile keeping up with cars. 

How much more road are we going to add to keep up with cars?  I was in Hyderabad in 1999 when Naidu was praised for building "lots of flyovers" and Bangalore had almost none.  That was supposed to have solved all the traffic problems.  Sadly they did not.  We are again back to traffic jams in Hyderabad inspite of 4+4 lane roads and flyovers all over.

Doing the same thing and expecting different results is called stupidity. 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

s_yajaman's picture

Update on BWSL - no jams ON the sea link

Toll has been introduced on the sealink resulting in 75% less traffic on the sea link - (score one for Dr.ASJ). 

Read below.

"...Bandra station at 8:53 am and after battling the usual chaos till Lucky Restaurant, reached the sea link toll booth at 9:05 am. The cab crossed over to Worli within four minutes, before the difficulties began"

"The Mahim Causeway journey from 10:20 am saw traffic get stuck at Worli Naka signal and crawl till Haji Ali via Atria Mall. Traffic from the sea link merged with that from the Causeway. The cab reached Haji Ali junction at 11.11 am and was stuck at the signal for four minutes. The narrow Peddar Road again proved troublesome and it took seven minutes from the junction to the end. "

So if no one uses the sea link how does it help?  We are back to the problem on Mahim Causeway.



Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

idontspam's picture

Congestion charging

Proof that congestion charging will work. Every tom dick and harry will clamber onto public transport.
asj's picture

Some unknown truths

SY, The amazing thing is that traffic in recent times has got better due to closure of some lanes near causeway and also carving out a bus lane at Haji-Ali. Both places, we had the madness of 6 lanes converging in to 4.

So much has been written about the link but I have come across a single media report on bus lane at Haji-Ali.

Now the chaos described above is going to be the reason to hasten further such projects - they want a flyover from Haji-Ali to Girgaum beach at footsteps of Wilson College.

The fun is yet to start.


Nitinjhanwar's picture

Economics of BWSL

Similarly the heavily priced facilities of private hospitals can be

1.0 Have and do have insurance schemes

2.0 To be maintained and built by these sepcialists but monitored by


Why does anybody not come up with a scheme of tolling insurance based

on vehicle condition and no of trips.?



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