Those who thought the wait for the Eastern Freeway would be over with its inauguration on Thursday, hold on.
After drawing flak from all corners for the delay in opening the freeway, the state government finally inaugurated the 13.6-km stretch of the flyover on Thursday.
However, one may not be able to use it before Saturday, thanks to the rain-proof makeshift dais, constructed for the inauguration, which stands in the middle of the road.
The structure can be removed only by late Friday night, sources said, and the freeway will officially be opened for traffic from Saturday morning.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated the Orange Gate-Panjarpol stretch of the freeway on Thursday.
“We had constructed a 80x30-metre stage with huge iron poles and tin sheets to make it strong so that it resists heavy rains or gusty winds.
We have started dismantling it but the process is likely to continue till Friday night. We expect the freeway to be open to traffic from Saturday morning,” said a senior official from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), requesting anonymity.
Initially, the MMRDA had decided to open the Chembur-bound stretch of the freeway on Thursday night itself, as the dias was built on the south Mumbai-bound stretch near Orange Gate. However, the officials decided against it fearing the work on removal of the stage might obstruct traffic movement.
When contacted, Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson of MMRDA, said: “As dismantling of stage might affect traffic on both sides of the freeway, both the stretches will be opened simultaneously after the stage is completely removed. We are trying to ensure that the freeway is open for traffic by tomorrow [Friday].”
While the state government and the MMRDA were being criticised for not opening the freeway earlier this week and waiting for politicians to inaugurate it, the dias for the same leaders now stands as the next roadblock.