Reliance Infrastructure has secured a Rs70bn ($1.01bn) contract from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to construct the Versova-Bandra Sea Link (VBSL) bridge in Mumbai, India.

Under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, Reliance Infrastructure will be responsible for building the VBSL bridge in a 60-month period.

Once operational, the 17.17km bridge is likely to cut travel time between Versova-Bandra from over 90 minutes to ten minutes.

It is predicted that the eight-lane sea link will reduce congestion on the Western Express Highway and the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway.

In partnership with soil investigation contractor Fugro and engineering design with Dar Al Handasah, Reliance Infrastructure has already completed the ground works for the project.

Work will start on the project once the MSRDC finalises the location of the casting yard.

Reliance Infrastructure ED and CEO Punit Garg said: “This project will further propel Reliance Infrastructure as a premier E&C company in India. Our partnership with Astaldi, the third biggest construction player in the world in bridges, will help us create a truly world-class mega infrastructure project for Mumbai.”

To execute the project, Reliance Infrastructure has partnered with Italian bridge construction specialist Astaldi, which completed the $7bn Izmit Bay Bridge (Gebze-OrhangaziIzmir Motorway Project) in Turkey.

In 2012, the cost of the VBSL bridge was initially estimated as Rs40.45bn ($590m), which jumped to Rs43.4bn ($630m) in 2013, and then Rs59.75bn ($860m) in 2014. According to the latest estimate, the cost at the time of construction was Rs69.93bn ($1bn).

In September 2018, the Financial Express reported that the actual cost of the project would likely rise to Rs113.32bn ($1.6bn) by its expected completion time in 2023.

Tolls on the bridge would be collected until 2052. The tolls are expected to triple the rates on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link as the Versova Bandra Sea Link is three times as long.

Meanwhile, Reliance Infrastructure announced that it will conclude the sale of Delhi Agra (DA) toll road to Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure for Rs36bn ($522.3m) by August.