Some claims (this one is typical) have it that the Sealink will drastically reduce travel time from the suburbs. Bandra to Worli "now takes 45 minutes to an hour" during the morning rush hours, but with the bridge inaugurated, that journey will take "just seven minutes".
No wonder it's much-awaited.
Me, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that it will reduce travel time nowhere close to as drastically as that, if at all.
Consider the photograph in this report. (That epaper link will soon vanish, and I'm not sure how to grab the photograph before that happens -- please let me know if you do).
Ignore the text of the report, which is another angle to the absurdity of "inaugurations" -- but consider the photograph, especially the part circled in red.
That's where the Sealink joins Worli, near the north end of the Worli seaface. Traffic that comes from Bandra, at the top of the photograph, will come to that red-circled junction and will have to make the ninety-degree right turn there. That turn, and the signal that will certainly be installed there, will inevitably cause a slowdown.
Besides: Not shown in the photograph is the south end of the Worli Seaface, where all this traffic will proceed. Signal there too, and a right turn into a narrow road under the Love Grove flyover. Slowdown there too.
I've been baffled by this red-circled junction since it first started taking shape. Why wasn't it designed with a more gradual merge? How can a right-angle turn onto a road that's already in regular (and relatively heavy) use be anything but a major bottleneck? The way things stand, as of tomorrow the bottleneck for road commuters will have been moved a few km south, is all.
So: no major speedup in your commute to South Bombay. Maybe none. You heard it here. Maybe not first, but you heard it here.
And, you will pay a toll for this.
Incidentally, there are other reasons I believe this bridge will not significantly reduce commute time into South Bombay: of those, another time.
Postscript: I was wrong. Apparently most of the traffic coming off the sealink will not be turning right onto Worli Seaface. According to this report, the traffic police have it all worked out.
If you, a southbound commuter, take the sealink, you will have three options when you come to that red-circled intersection.
For two of them, you turn left and proceed north. At the next junction, either you take a sharp right and follow Pochkhanawala Road (which runs parallel to the Seaface), or you take a left and follow Mahakali Road to the passport office. That feeds you back into the southbound traffic.
The third option is to turn right (for some reason the report calls this a "U-turn") and proceed south along Worli Seaface. For southbound commuters, this seems the most logical thing to do. (Why would you turn north?). Yet according to another report on the same subject on the same page, "this route will be closed from 830 am to 1130 am".
i.e. The most logical and direct route southbound, albeit one involving a sharp right turn, will be closed during the morning rush hour south bound.
Why? Who knows?
Postscript #2: The "U-turn" mentioned above is actually correct. What the traffic police mean is a U-turn at the INS Trata junction, the one north of where the sealink meets Worli Seaface.
Some pix of the Worli end of the Sealink, after being opened to traffic, here. (Thanks).
Some other thoughts on the Sealink, but perhaps better in a separate post.