Mumbai: After a delay of 3 years, Ghatkopar-Mankhurd flyover opens for traffic
The 2.9-km-long Ghatkopar-Mankhurd flyover was opened for traffic from Sunday after much delay. The flyover is expected to bring relief for those travelling between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai from the traffic congestion on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who inaugurated the flyover, for which construction started half a decade ago, asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure the surface of the flyover is made smooth.
The construction of the flyover started in February 2016, for which the cost was above ₹500 crore and was supposed to be ready by January 2019, however, the project got delayed. According to BMC officials, it has also levied a fine of ₹40 lakh on the contractor for the delay in completing its construction.
The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover is expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road that is used by motorists heading towards Navi Mumbai, Lonavala and further to Pune.
The flyover will be connecting Sion-Panvel Highway. All the vehicles coming from Eastern Express Highway and Santacruz-Chembur Link Road can use the flyover. It is also expected to bring relief to the heavy vehicle traffic considering its connectivity to the crucial highways leading further towards Konkan and Bengaluru, the officials said.
While inaugurating the flyover for traffic, Thackeray said, “It is a relief today for thousands of citizens with the opening up of this flyover. Previously, I did not even feel like passing through this stretch but now with the construction of this flyover, it will help motorists bypass the traffic below. I just have a small request to the BMC that the surface of the flyover should be made more proper to ensure a smooth experience. However, I am proud that the BMC in such a challenging period of Covid-19 pandemic managed to complete its work.”
Earlier, a controversy had flamed up over the naming up of the flyover. The Shiv Sena member of Parliament (MP) Rahul Shewale had demanded that the BMC should name the flyover over Sufi saint Khwaja Gareeb Nawaj Moinuddin Chisti. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had opposed it and sought it to be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Following this, on July 29, a proposal was cleared in a works committee meeting to name it after Shivaji Maharaj. However, the name is yet to be approved by the BMC’s general body which is expected to take place in the coming days.
On Sunday, the event was also attended by suburban guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray, mayor Kishori Pednekar, local MP from BJP Manoj Kotak and minority affairs minister Nawab Malik, who is also an MLA from Anushakti Nagar constituency.
However, Congress corporator Ravi Raja, who is the leader of opposition in the BMC, alleged that he was not invited to the event in violation of the protocol to invite opposition leaders for such events. Raja said, “The councillors and group leaders were expected to be invited for events. The leader of the opposition post has an important place in a democracy. Also, the state government has given statutory status to this post in the civic body by law. We will not tolerate this insult by the BMC administration.”