One of the city’s oldest bridges may need to be broadened to accommodate its ever-growing traffic.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Tuesday asked his officers if it was possible to convert the century-old Elphinstone bridge — which connects the Babasaheb Ambedkar road to the business hub of Senapati Bapat Marg in Parel — into a four-lane stretch. It is currently a two-way lane that sees horrid traffic snarls during the peak hours.
The bridge is also used by nearly two lakh passengers every day to reach the Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.
Mehta asked officials to look into the feasibility during his weekly round-up. “The commissioner has asked us to check if these are suggestions in the comprehensive mobility plan ( a master plan to ease the city’s traffic problems) and ask the bridges department to moot a proposal. We will also have to coordinate with railways and traffic department to check the feasibility. The bridge witnesses huge traffic pile ups everyday,” said Sanjay Darade, chief engineer, roads department.
As part of its Unclog Mumbai campaign, Hindustan Times has over the years highlighted how the growth of Parel as a business hub that houses several high-rises and brings in thousands of Mumbaiites every morning is fast becoming the city’s biggest problem areas.
From a hub of textile mills in the 1980s, the area around the old bridge has undergone tremendous transformation but the infrastructure supporting it remains the same. Hawkers occupy both sides of the approach roads towards the stations, making it a nightmare even for pedestrians.
The city’s Comprehensive Mobility Plan, a study report that analysed population, travel patterns and delays caused by traffic snarls, sought to suggest such solutions to make commuting smooth in Mumbai. In 2014, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had appointed Lee Associates South Asia as a consultant for the survey, in a deal worth Rs 7.21 crore, to prepare the report.
On Tuesday, Mehta also asked civic officials to clear a one-acre space near Dadar flower market, currently used as a space for old solid waste management (SWM), for storm water drains (SWD) vehicles. The civic body’s license and sewerage operations department also has an office in the area. A senior civic official from the commissioner’s office said, “The commissioner has asked officials to clear the area in the next 15 days and look at ways in which it can be put to use.” The BMC is yet to take a call on the usage after the clearance.