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Four ways to a faster commute

3 projects - SCLR, Eastern Freeway and Sahar Elevated Road - will cut down commute time significantly; JVLR is already in use. Saurabh Katkurwar reports.

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2013 01:58 IST
Saurabh Katkurwar

With three major road projects slated for completion by the year-end, your drive on the city's vital yet congested roads could become smoother. The Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) has been up and running since 2012.

The Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR), the Eastern Freeway, and the Sahar Elevated Road will finally be opened to the public by December. These three projects will cut your daily commute time along the Sion-Dharavi road, on the Eastern Expressway and while travelling to the international airport.

SCLR, touted as the solution to the nightmarish commute from the eastern suburbs to the western suburbs along the Sion-Dharavi Road, has been in the making for nearly a decade. The project began in 2003 and was expected to be ready in 2005. But, the big issue of rehabilitation of project affected people (PAP) and red-tapism delayed the project significantly raising the original cost from Rs110 crore to Rs505 crore. Finally, December 2013 has been given as the date for completion.

The SCLR is expected to cut the existing travel time from the western suburbs to the eastern suburbs by 45 minutes. The link road from Santacruz to Amar Mahal Junction in Chembur will have a double deck flyover near Kurla terminus facilitating smooth connectivity. But, there is one hitch - the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd (MSRDC) is still waiting for railway authorities to grant approval to build a rail over-bridge (RoB) on the central line near Kurla terminus to complete the link road.

"Once we get approval, the bridge will be ready in four months," said Subhash Nage, chief engineer, MSRDC.

You won't have to wait till the end of the year then, to zip from Ghatkopar to south Mumbai on a 17-km-long, signal-free road. The Eastern Freeway, which could significantly reduce traffic snarls on the existing Eastern Express Highway, is expected to be opened to the public in April this year. It will cut

down the existing commute time by 45 minutes.

"Around 85% of the construction work of the freeway is finished and the four lanes of the freeway will be opened in April. The whole road will be opened by June," said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director (PR) of MMRDA.

There is good news for western expressway commuters as well. The travel to the international airport will be hassle-free and unrestricted with the Sahar Elevated Road expected to be open for use by the end of 2013. It will cut your travel time by 30 minutes.

At present the Sahar road connecting to the international airport has heavy traffic congestion during peak hours. The road is being built in two parts and recently, a part of the elevated road collapsed near Terminal 2 of the international airport raising fears that completion of the road could get delayed. However, authorities have claimed the accident will not affect the deadline of the project.

Transport experts have raised doubts over the efficacy of these roads in solving traffic woes. "These roads are planned as car centric and not bus centric. Initially, these roads will help reduce the traffic congestion but traffic issues will erupt again after a few years when the number of cars increases," said Sudhir Badami, transport expert and structural engineer.

"If these roads were constructed as bus centric and the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) was allowed to ply, the traffic congestion issue could have been sorted out for the long term."