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Traffic woes for Mumbaikars may get way worse this monsoon

According to the traffic police, with the closure of the Ghatkopar-Andheri Link Road and the Delisle Bridge, there are few options left for motorists to travel between the eastern and western suburbs

mumbai Updated: Jun 10, 2019 07:39 IST
Megha Sood and Mehul R Thakkar
Megha Sood and Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,Ghatkopar-Andheri Link Road
Traffic jam at stretch of Marine Drive in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. (Kunal Patil/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.

3 control rooms set up at coastal road sites

In response to the concerns expressed by the citizens over possible flooding owing to coastal road work in South Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up special control rooms at construction sites.

Three control rooms have been set up between Princess Street Flyover and Worli, parallel to the construction sites. Citizens can also lodge their complaints with the disaster control room helpline for handling any emergencies at the coastal road project site.

Work on the coastal road, which extends from Princess Street Flyover to the Worli end of the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link, started in October 2018.

A BMC official said, “In order to ensure anti-flooding measures at all these sites, control rooms have been set up at each site to attend to emergency/complaints during monsoon. The citizens can access these numbers in case of emergencies related to stormwater drains or any other work related to coastal road during the monsoon.”

According to BMC officials, around six drains will be extended up to the new coastal road project boundary. This to ensure there is no accumulation of rain-water at the coastal road sites. The contractors have also installed dewatering pumps to drain out rainwater in case of excessive rainfall for ensuring avoiding flooding.

According to BMC officials, they had earlier told the contractors to ensure there is no flooding. In the past two years, there have been complaints regarding flooding at the construction site of the underground Colaba-Seepz Metro corridor.

Meanwhile, HT’s monsoon audit had pointed out a natural stormwater channel near Worli seaface being diverted, citing that it could prove dangerous during monsoon.

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 01:09 IST