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Mumbai goes sightseeing as Sealink opens

It is supposed to reduce the 40-minute crawl between Bandra and Worli to a 15-minute ride.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2009 00:31 IST
Team HT

It is supposed to reduce the 40-minute crawl between Bandra and Worli to a 15-minute ride.

However, on the first day the Sealink was thrown open to the public, Mumbaiites who took the route spent 40 minutes and more navigating the 5.6-km distance.

The fault does not lie with the Sealink but with the sheer number of excited, curious Mumbaiites who turned up to check out the Sealink, which is toll-free till Sunday, and the traffic dispersal system.

The bottleneck was the worst at the Worli-end, where the Sealink opens onto the seaface, with serpentine queues during peak hours in the morning and evening. In Bandra, there was no bottleneck, but traffic crawled.

“The traffic congestion at the Worli-end was obvious. It will clear only after the Worli-Haji Ali and Nariman Point links are complete,” said S L Dhingra, professor of transport systems, IIT-Bombay.
“The bridge is a first-class construction, but I have been waiting for the past 30 minutes to get to it,” said Worli motorist Hari Prakash.

Reckless drivers added to mess, with many taking U-turns in the middle of the Sealink, only to make another U-turn and return – all for fun. “It’s only for a day or two. Who will let us do this afterwards?” quipped a motorist when an agitated driver of an SUV ticked him off.

There was no escape for even those who chose to avoid the Sealink – they got stuck in jams that radiated on to arterial roads around the Sealink, such as S V Road, Mahim Causeway and the Western Express Highway.

The traffic police said the traffic situation will improve soon. “The initial days will witness hectic traffic as there is no toll and everyone wants to experience the Sealink,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Shahaji Solunkhe. “We are hopeful that in a few days, the volume of traffic will reduce.”