Mumbai :  The pipe burst at Marine Drive, which had created a massive crater in the road and was closed down for repair on Sunday, led to massive traffic snarls, thanks to the inept handling of the traffic police.

Motorists took at least 30 minutes to cover the distance between Wilson College and the Cream Centre intersection, where the traffic diversion to Opera House had created a massive bottleneck that extended all the way till Churchgate station.

On normal days, it takes less than three minutes to cover this distance. Had the traffic cops diverted traffic at Hai Ali towards Tardeo and Mahalakshmi, motorists would have been spared the ensuing traffic jam. By the time motorists hit the Peddar Road it was too late to take a U-turn. There were no policemen holding placards or signposts warning motorists of the traffic diversion; nor did the traffic cops make use of public address system to disseminate information to the stranded motorists.

After the 32-inch diameter water pipeline burst early on Saturday morning, leading to a cave in at Girgaum Chowpatty, the traffic cops had all day to beef up for the oncoming Sunday rush from the suburbs, which is mostly headed for Marine Drive and Colaba.

The Hydraulic Department of the BMC had taken up the task of repairing the century-old pipeline on a war footing. The installation was over by 7 PM on Saturday and after that it was handed over to the Road Department.

But the road repair work was not over till late Sunday evening. As late as 6.30 in the evening bricks and other material was still being carted to the spot.

The crater, which is 10 metres long and 8 metres wide, is being filled with paver blocks. An engineer of the road department, who requested anonymity, said, “The loose material was excavated. At a height of four metres, the paver blocks are, now, being placed”. Beneath the paver blocks, the granular material and bedding sand will be put. Then, the area affected outside will be resurfaced with asphalt. It is expected that the work will be over by late Sunday evening and the Marine Drive stretch leading to Nariman Point would be thrown open to traffic by nighttime.

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