We test the Bandra- Worli Sea Link in peak traffic to see if it makes any difference.
The Bandra-Worli Sea-Link, Mumbai’s new landmark, an Rs 1,600 crore structure created to save time and reduce the hassle of driving from the suburbs to south Mumbai. So does it? To find out we took two Maruti Swifts and left the domestic airport at 9.30am sharp, during peak rush hour traffic, for the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point.
One Swift took the Sea Link and other took the traditional Mahim–Prabhadevi route. This is how they fared. Both cars started off from the domestic airport at 9:30 am and fourteen minutes later both cars were running neck and neck up till Mahim causeway, from here they parted ways, one car heading to the sea-link while the other took the old route. Toll of Rs50 was quickly paid and it was a straight run to the Worli end of the sea link, which arrived at 9:51am. The second swift had in the meanwhile made it only half way around to Worli, to Shivaji Park. The next common check-point was the Haji Ali signal and the Swift that came via the Bandra-Worli Sea link got there first at 10:15am. The second Swift came by twenty minutes later, and this difference then remained until Nariman Point as the cars followed the same route once again.
While the route via the Sea Link proved to be distance-wise, a longer and more expensive drive (Rs. 50 for the one-way toll); it saved a valuable 20 minutes on the overall journey, pretty useful, especially for the masses of people making this commute for work.
The sea-link has not only provided a scenic and quick route between South Mumbai to the suburbs, it has also reduced the congestion on the Mahim-Prabhadevi route thereby improving the commute regardless of the route taken. The only spot on this otherwise ideal situation is the exit onto Worli Seaface. The 90 degree turn creates bottleneck that slows down the otherwise smooth ride.
Round 1 goes to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, and it should only get better once the second phase of development to Nariman point gets completed, hopefully, on time.