The sea-link has been named 'Rajiv Gandhi Setu' when Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar mooted for it after the formal inauguration and was immediately accepted by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
The 4.8-kilometre long, eight-lane bridge will save around Rs 200-crores a year in vehicle operating cost alone.
"Our objective is to include Mumbai as one of the most elegant cities in the world complete with all amenities," Gandhi said.
Stating that the link will reduce traffic snarls, she asked the Maharashtra Government to start work on the second phase of the project connecting Worli to Haji Ali soon.
In 2008-09 alone, the Centre had released Rs 12,000 crore for various projects including Mumbai Metro in the state, Gandhi said.
"In our manifesto, we have promised to develop a new model of urban governance and we will fulfill it," she said and added that the Congress-led Maharashtra Government is working in this direction.
Lauding all those associated with the project for making the sea link possible, she said the "engineering marvel" would raise the beauty and stature of Mumbai."
"Mumbai is financial capital of the country and now it is turning into an important international financial hub. This (sea link) is not only the pride of Mumbai, but for the entire nation," she said.
The sea-link conceived in the 1990s, would thus provide much-needed relief in the congested Mahim Causeway area which records around 1.25-lakh vehicles daily.
Work on the sea-link, which has been constructed by the Ajit Gulabchand-led Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), commenced in October 2004.
The cost of illumination of the bridge would be Rs 9 crores and the height of the cable-stayed tower is equal to a 43-storey building.
Will the Sea-Link Contribute to Congestion?
What was supposed to
be a Rs 300-crore project completed in 2004 actually cost Rs 1,600 crore and was
completed five years late.
Supposedly it will reduce the 40-minute car journey from Bandra to Worli to seven minutes, but in practice it will lead to traffic bunching at both ends of the link, ie at Worli and Bandra, and become a nightmare during rush hour.
Mumbaikars who had been eagerly waiting for the inauguration, which was scheduled for midnight, were disappointed when the inauguration was delayed without any notifications.