How citizens cope with Gokhale Bridge closure?
Gokhale Bridge was shut on November 7 when, after the routine six-month audit conducted by the BMC, it was found to be in a dilapidated state that warranted closure.
Mumbai: Nearly three weeks after the closing of Gokhale Bridge, the key connector between the east and west sides of Andheri, commuters and residents are finding new ways to travel in order to avoid traffic jams. Many have taken to walking from the west to the east while others have decided to not use private vehicles in the area. Some residents have formed WhatsApp and Telegram groups of nearly a thousand members and are consistently planning different ways to keep the pressure on the authorities.
Gokhale Bridge was shut on November 7 when, after the routine six-month audit conducted by the BMC, it was found to be in a dilapidated state that warranted closure. Following the shutting, residents sprang into action, and an outcry ensued to keep the bridge open for light vehicular traffic. Citizens also demanded that the reconstruction work be completed sooner than scheduled.
The demands led to the guardian minister of the western suburbs conducting a high-level meeting with the BMC, railways and police officials. Subsequent reports from VJTI and IIT-Bombay recommended keeping the middle portion of the bridge open for light vehicular traffic subject to certain technical conditions but the BMC is yet to decide on that. Meanwhile, residents continue to be furious and have formed a core committee to doggedly pursue the authorities to ensure that the work is completed as soon as possible.
When HT visited the area on Thursday, it was observed that the hawkers on S V Road near Andheri Railway Station West were back and continuing to block the footpaths and roads. Autorickshaws from the area have now started taking more and more people in a share-an-auto, and the Versova-Ghatkopar metro has seen a 40,000-strong increase in daily commuters.
Dr Akansha Chadha, a resident of Andheri West told HT that while she generally used public transport for travelling to work, a massive traffic jam last week forced her to reconsider. “Last week, I used my car to attend a function and was stuck for nearly an hour while travelling to Andheri West from the Vile Parle flyover. I did not know the jam would be so dense. If I have to travel by road to the east now, I use the Jogeshwari flyover, which is much wider than the Vile Parle one.”