While Hindustan Times through its ongoing Unclog Mumbai campaign has highlighted the need to decongest five of Mumbai’s business districts, the state government on Thursday approved a plan to clear Bandra-Kurla Complex’s (BKC) entry and exit points, which are prone to major traffic jams, especially during peak hours.
As part of its campaign, HT has carried a series of reports highlighting the traffic congestion at Kalanagar and BKC junctions. HT spoke to transport experts who suggested possible solutions, and state authorities had promised to take the steps necessary to clear the area of traffic.
On Thursday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis gave his nod to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) Rs 227-crore project to decongest the BKC-Kalanagar junction by constructing four flyovers and an additional road.
At present, this stretch witnesses major jams because of traffic converging from five different roads. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes just to cross these two junctions during rush hour.
According to the plan, the first flyover will be a 1.9-km long two-lane flyover, which will be built from BKC junction to the Bandra-Worli sea link. The other two-lane flyover will be for traffic coming from the sea link going towards BKC. Both these flyovers will be constructed near the southern end of the Kalanagar flyover on the Western Express Highway (WEH) and the BKC junction.
A third flyover will begin before the Mithi river bridge on the Sion-Dharavi Link Road, while a fourth one will start before the BKC junction. These two-lane flyovers, each 3-km long, will join over the Kalanagar flyover and continue on as a three-lane flyover before ending on the WEH after the Kherwadi junction.
A 300-m road will be constructed on the excise department’s land to ensure the smooth dispersal of traffic going from Dharavi to Mahim and the sea link.
MMRDA said the construction of these flyovers will be carried out in phases.
MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said, “It is not possible to begin construction of all the flyovers at the same time because it will lead to chaos at the BKC and Kalanagar junctions. So they will be constructed in phases.”
MMRDA will also approach the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for green clearance because it will have to cut certain patches of mangroves near Mahim creek to construct two of the flyovers.
Experts, however, had mixed reactions to the plan. Urban planner Akhtar Chavan said, “The flyovers will help solve the traffic problem at Kalanagar junction. However, the relief will be temporary. We need a comprehensive traffic mobile policy to address the problem.
Transport expert AV Shenoy said, “Although the new flyovers will help decongest the Kalanagar junction, the existing bottleneck will shift to other places. Authorities should focus on measures to reduce the number of private vehicles on roads.” More than 30,000 vehicles pass through the Kalanagar junction every day.