Traffic snarls mar opening of freeway | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Traffic snarls mar opening of freeway

The much awaited Eastern Freeway, which was partially opened for traffic on Friday, experienced normal traffic amid incessant rains on the first day. However, the entry points to the freeway witnessed traffic congestion in the evening.

mumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2013 09:58 IST
Saurabh Katkurwar

The much awaited Eastern Freeway, which was partially opened for traffic on Friday, experienced normal traffic amid incessant rains on the first day. However, the entry points to the freeway witnessed traffic congestion in the evening.

For the first few hours after the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) opened a portion of the freeway — from Orange Gate to Panjarpol — at 11.30 am, few motorists took the freeway. And though traffic had increased by evening, it was far from a snarl. However, there was congestion at the exit and entry points, especially at Panjarpol.

Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said: “Since authorities seem to have failed to work on a traffic dispersal plan where the freeway opens, traffic congestion is bound to happen. The problem will be solved to some extent when MMRDA opens the second tunnel and disallows parking on roads where the freeway opens.”

Motorists were confused about the exact time the freeway was supposed to open, and the traffic police had a hard time turning away motorists. “Many motorists came here in the morning before the freeway opened and asked us to allow them to travel on the freeway. We had to convince them to take the old route,” said a traffic official who was stationed at the Panjarpol end of the freeway.

A traffic official at Orange Gate said: “Motorists were stopping on the D’Mello road to inquire whether the freeway has started. This was disturbing traffic movement on the road.”

The freeway is expected to ease traffic issues in the eastern parts of city. However, it would have been more beneficial if the freeway were extended up to the Ghatkopar flyover on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH), feel activists.

As per the original plan made in 1962, the freeway was supposed to end at the Ghatkopar flyover on the EEH, an MMRDA official said. And at the inauguration function on Thursday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar too agreed. “I have been told by (MMRDA commissioner) Madan that there are some issues with construction of the freeway up to the Ghatkopar flyover. We should address these issues so commuters from Kalyan, Thane, Nashik can benefit.”

Jitendra Gupta said there would be traffic congestion at Chheda Nagar junction as motorists from Mulund and Thane will have to leave the EEH to travel on Ghatkopar-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) in order to take the freeway. “Extending the freeway up to the Ghatkopar flyover will eliminate the issue of congestion at Chheda Nagar.”

Interestingly, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) is also going to end near Chheda Nagar junction, and this will add to traffic congestion.

MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said: “We curtailed the freeway up to GMLR as construction of the freeway up to the Ghatkopar flyover was difficult because of the slums and mangrove land on the stretch. However, we may work on it in the future.”