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Traffic snarls in Mumbai could get worse this monsoon

At present, three bridges — Delisle Bridge at Lower Parel, Lakshmi Baug Nullah bridge on Ghatkopar-Andheri Link road, the Juhu Tara Road bridge and the Sion-Dharavi pedestrian subway, have been shut by the BMC, which termed them as dilapidated.

mumbai Updated: Jun 10, 2019 08:41 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
mumbai housing,mumbai rehabilitation,mumbai urban issues
According to the police, after the closure of Delisle Bridge, traffic has spilled over to Senapati Bapat Marg, Mahalakshmi station and Worli naka.(Bhushan Koyande/HT PHOTO)

Expect major traffic snarls in the city this monsoon with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai traffic police uncertain over whether or not some bridges should be kept open.

At present, three bridges — Delisle Bridge at Lower Parel, Lakshmi Baug Nullah bridge on Ghatkopar-Andheri Link road, the Juhu Tara Road bridge and the Sion-Dharavi pedestrian subway, have been shut by the BMC, which termed them as dilapidated.

To compound the issue, the Central Railways (CR) has sought permission to shut two bridges — the Sulochana Sethi Marg that connects to Kumbharwada, and the bridge that connects Sion railway station road to the Eastern Express Highway. The railways have asked permission to shut the bridge to carry out work on the proposed fifth and sixth track on the CR. Senior CR officials said the Mumbai-Urban Transport Project (MUTP-2) is being stalled owing to the issue and it was urgent for them to complete work on the 5th and 6th track.

Shahaji Umap, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said the traffic police have denied permission to the railways, stating that the bridges were not dilapidated and that there was no urgency to close them.

According to the traffic police, with the closure of the Ghatkopar-Andheri Link Road on May 31 and the Delisle Bridge over six months ago, there are few options left for motorists to travel between the eastern and western suburbs.

“If the two bridges are also closed by the railways, major traffic will be diverted to Tilak bridge (Dadar), Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) and Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR). It will worsen traffic conditions across the city,” said Umap.

According to the police, after the closure of Delisle Bridge, traffic has spilled over to Senapati Bapat Marg, Mahalakshmi station and Worli naka.

Similarly, closure of Ghatkopar-Andheri link road has caused traffic to spill over to the Western Express Highway. Traffic officials further said if the Sion-Dharavi Bridge and the Sion station to Eastern Expressway are closed, it would result in chaos through Kalanagar in Bandra and the entire eastern corridor. The spillover will extend to the beginning of the Eastern Freeway at P D’Mello Road

The situation would also be worse with the Juhu Tara road being shut for traffic, which will see traffic woes on both the SV Road, and the Western Express Highway, compound further, said traffic officers.

Experts said even though repairs of bridges, constructing additional railway lines are equally important, doing everything together is not a solution.

“Arrangements have to be made by discussing the problem and working out a way around it. Or they can do all this work in phases,” said Vijayshree Pednekar, architect and transport planner.

Vivek Pai, member of the Mumbai Mobility Forum and an urban transport planner, said the railways should wait until the monsoon is over to begin work on the extra tracks. “Bridges that need urgent structural repairs should be closed to avoid accidents and if these two bridges are not dilapidated, they should not be closed. Development of railways is equally important, however, it can wait,” said Pai.

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 03:46 IST