Today in Transportation History – 2009: Opening of the Banda-Worli Sea Link

In western India, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was first opened to traffic. Characterized by the Mumbai-based Economic Times as “India’s latest showcase to the world,” the cable-stayed bridge formally debuted with only four of its eight lanes opened. The other four lanes were opened nearly nine months later.

The bridge, measuring three-and-a-half miles in length, crosses Mahim Bay (part of the Arabian Sea) and connects the village of Bandra with Mumbai’s Worli neighborhood. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link has been credited with reducing the travel time between those communities during peak hours from 60-90 minutes to 20-30 minutes. The structure also has the distinction of being one of the longest bridges in India and the nation’s first cable-stayed bridge to be constructed over open seas.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link has been likened to the Golden Gate Bridge and acclaimed for its various state-of-the-art features. As Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proclaimed when the first four lanes were opened, “It is an example of the miracles engineers are capable of.”

Work on the bridge was commissioned by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, and it was built by the Hindustan Construction Company. The designer of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was Seshadri Srinivasan, who graduated with a degree in structural engineering from the University of Madras in 1958 and was 77 at the time of the bridge’s dedication. “I’ve lost count of the number of bridges I’ve designed,” he said in an interview at the time with the Bangalore Mirror. “In fact, it would be safe to say that I designed my 100th bridge a long time ago.” He added, “Show me any bridge that you think looks better than this Sea Link.”

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