Mumbai: Traffic on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) was disrupted on Wednesday morning following the breakdown of a trailer carrying a tunnel-boring machine (TBM) for Metro III work.
Commuters, who had no inkling of the development, were left snarling for hours, as no alert was issued by Mumbai Traffic Police or by the Metro-III authorities.
There was no official advisory put out on social media, to alert motorists about this situation. It was only when a Twitter-user tweeted about the traffic chaos with photographs, tagging the authorities, that a response was elicited.
@MumbaiMatters said, "MumbaiMetro3, assuming it is your equipment, please update action being taken to clear the terrible traffic jam at JVLR as a multi axle trailer transporting a TBM has broken down.
People are stuck since more than 3 hours..." Until then, no alert had been sounded by the authorities or by the Mumbai Police.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), which is usually prompt to issue updates about the project, had also failed to inform the public about the situation. Only at 11.45 am did the MMRCL managing director Ashwini Bhide reply to anxious motorists' queries.
Her first tweet read, "We regret the inconvenience caused. The TBM movement began past midnight as per permission by traffic police.
However, it could not be completed on time due to adverse weather & slushy road. Our team is currently on ground resolving the situation & it should be normalised soon."
While in the second tweet she wrote, "Arrangements are being made to pull the vehicle from the current position and take it to our casting yard just across the road."
Shortly after, the Metro-III authority tweeted a JVLR traffic update on its official Twitter handle and the measures being taken to move the TBM shield to the nearby casting yard.
Around the same time, Mumbai Police tweeted about traffic diversions, at 11.45 pm, "All commuter please note -Traffic is slow-moving due to Metro machine breakdown at Adani Company (Westbound), JVLR. Hence traffic is diverted from - Gandhinagar and Bindumadhav Chowk. Please use SCLR for Western Suburban."
Oliver Quadros, who spent more than four hours in the traffic jam, told The Free Press Journal about his ordeal. He had left his home in Bhandup at 8.15 am as he had an appointment with clients from Singapore, at the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) hotel near Mumbai airport. However, little did he know he was not going to make it. He continued to be stuck in Powai at noon.
He said, "I was late to the appointment and my clients did not approve. How will someone trust us if say we were late because we were held up in traffic? I had to send them screen shots of tweets as proof. This would not have happened if the authorities would have informed us in advance."
Commuter Deeraj Khanna, who too failed to reach his office on time, said, "I crossed the flyover near Larsen & Toubro, three kilometres from my house in Chandivli.
I was bound for Lokhandwala but after three hours, I had only managed to reach the flyover. Motorists were frustrated and honking. A fight also broke out in between.
Somehow, I managed a U-turn and returned home after passers-by from the opposite direction spoke of the massive traffic hold-up. Because of a breakdown in communication, people had to suffer. What about those who may have health issues and are going to hospital? I was scared and at the same time, annoyed, just like the others."