Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 10:39 UK

Traffic jams halt India sea link

Traffic on Mumbai sea link
The sea link has been hailed as an engineering feat

The first bridge to be built over the sea in India has witnessed massive traffic congestion a day after it was opened to the public.

The bridge in Mumbai was built to ease traffic congestion and cut travelling time between the western suburbs of Bandra with Worli over the Arabian Sea.

It has eight lanes and aims to reduce journey time from 45 to six minutes.

Officials say the bridge is a way to ease Mumbai's traffic problems. The city has more than a million vehicles.

A police spokesman said that the traffic gridlock on Wednesday was because of the initial curiosity among people who were experiencing a toll-free ride for the first few days.

The bridge witnessed heavy traffic from Bandra and a bottleneck at the Worli before proceeding towards south Mumbai.

Rakhi Khanna, who used the sea link, said: "One side of the bridge had a traffic jam and the vehicles were crawling. However, the bridge is beautiful and I feel proud that there has been such infrastructure development in India."

Separately, a patrol boat with nine people deployed ran aground under the bridge on Tuesday. Coastguard helicopters rescued the people on the stranded boat.

Critics do not believe the bridge will help ease traffic congestion in a city which adds several hundred new vehicles to its roads every day.

But traffic police say they are confident they will be able to manage the flow of vehicles.

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