Quicker, signal-free connectivity between south Mumbai and eastern suburbs will be a reality from today, as the 13.6km stretch of the Eastern Freeway from Orange Gate to Panjarpol will be thrown open to public.
According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), more than 60,000 vehicles can use the freeway daily, thus reducing the traffic on Dr Ambedkar and D’Mello Road. Sharad Sabnis, chief engineer, MMRDA, said, “We expect about 22,000-25,000 vehicles on the route initially. The count may reach over 30,000 vehicles when the entire freeway will be opened.”
Motorists from Chembur and Navi Mumbai can take the freeway at the Panjarpol Square to reach south Mumbai in just 20 minutes.
The 9.6km stretch of the freeway — from Orange Gate to Anik Junction — is the second longest elevated road in the country after the 11.6km PVNR Elevated Expressway in Hyderabad. The 2.8km under-construction stretch up to the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road is expected to be ready by the end of the year.
Motorists coming from south Mumbai can use the two ramps on the D’Mello Road to reach Chembur. As the traffic from south Mumbai will have to leave the freeway at the Panjarpol Square, there could be traffic congestion at the spot.
Motorists from Sion, Mulund and Thane may not be able to use the freeway yet, as the required ramps at the Anik Junction haven’t been constructed. The cost of the project, which was Rs 847 crore in January 2008, has now swelled up to Rs 1,250 crore.