Preparations by the authorities for the upcoming Ganpati festival became a problem for commuters who were stranded for two hours in traffic jams across the city on Wednesday.
The traffic police, however, blamed the heavy rains, which caused water logging in a few parts of the city. “It was definitely water logged roads leading to traffic jams,” said a traffic police officer.
When asked about the bandobast preparations holding back the traffic, police officers said that the bandobast was going on in specific areas like Lalbaug, which could not affect traffic across the city.
“Water logging cannot be the reason as it started raining only after 11.30am. I left home at 9.00am and was stuck in traffic for an hour,” said Namrata Shah, a resident of Chembur naka and works at Nariman point.
The traffic police posted a message on the official webpage claiming that there was water-logging at Parel TT, Mahalaxmi Junction, Bagla Compound in Byculla owing to which the traffic was slow. Major traffic snarls also took place at the Vashi Creek Bridge and Thane-Belapur road as the traffic was diverted towards Mumbai from Vashi because the roads from the Kalyan Sheel Phata to Thane Belapur road stretch were shut down.
Many people were late to work because of the traffic jams witnessed on the western and eastern expressway highways, Marol, Dadar and many other parts of the city.
The commuters were irked with the slow pace of traffic.
“The traffic was killer, it took me about two hours to reach Bandra from Marol in Andheri (east),” said Santosh Bhatia,
who owns a shop in Zaveri Bazaar.
“It was a respite yesterday when the autos were off roads. The ride was smooth. But today there was a huge traffic jam,” said Shailja Rastogi (35), who was stuck in a bus from Sakinaka to Andheri station for over two hours.
In Vashi, the eight-kilometre Thane Belapur road leading to the toll bridge was packed till afternoon.
Cars, buses and other motor vehicles were also lined up on the Vashi highway, all waiting to cross the bridge and this caused a lot of traffic snarls at the Vashi junction.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Shrikant Dhivre said, “The Shilphata Road was closed for repairs. We had to ensure that the traffic did not cause any problems to residents of the city. The traffic movement was very slow throughout the day in the area.”
He added, "We put in additional personnel and managed to get the situation back to normal by afternoon."
Interestingly, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, Raj Thackeray’s car was also stuck in the traffic snarl at the Vashi toll naka.
The traffic police said, there were traffic jams only for a few minutes,, “There were small snarls but the traffic had not come to a stand still,” said an officer.