MTHL Opening: Is SoBo Heading For Traffic Nightmares?

MTHL Opening: Is SoBo Heading For Traffic Nightmares?

Experts and motorists worry about increased traffic overwhelming existing infrastructure, especially in South Mumbai; anticipated daily influx of 70,000 vehicles may exacerbate congestion on already narrow roads.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Thursday, November 23, 2023, 01:05 AM IST
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MTHL Opening: Is SoBo Heading For Traffic Nightmares? | Representational Image/Freepik

The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), also known as Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans Harbour Link, will probably be thrown open for public use starting December 25. The 21.8km long bridge will be connecting Mumbai and Navi-Mumbai. However, is our city’s connectivity at par with the new incoming traffic – the answer is no, according to motorists and experts.

MTHL project could be destruction

The main traffic, coming towards Mumbai, from Navi Mumbai, will land up in the hands of South Mumbai. This extremely heavy crowd will be left out in the open – on the narrow lanes of Dongri, Mohammad Ali Road, Sewri, Pydhonie, etc. The already congested P D’Mello Road, connected with the Eastern Freeway, will go through tough times. According to an activist Kamalkar Shenoy, the entire project of MTHL is wonderful, but he says it’s deemed to be a destruction. “With this project in place, all I can see is bottlenecks everywhere. Our city’s safe and obstruction-free roads is in the hands of the IAS, and IPS officers – which they are about to destroy,” he says.

Shenoy further continues, “A daily influx of at least 70,000 vehicles is expected towards Mumbai. Forget 70,000, do we even have the bandwidth to deal with 700 vehicles at this point? Our extremely capable IAS officers are planning on making art galleries, and cafes on the road – which was originally meant for traffic and pedestrian movements. They are doing everything except for making the connectivity of Mumbai better.”

Encroachment, a problem

Shenoy believes that people travelling via MHTL would mainly stop at P D’Mello – to proceed towards CSMT, Churchgate, Girgaon Chowpatty, and other prevalent areas in SoBo – which would then exceed towards Dongri, Mohammad Ali Road – from Byculla to JJ Flyover – which has the most active encroachment on roads.

“The roads and footpaths are all encroached. The existing “space”, as it can’t be called roads anymore, is narrow. With such high traffic moving in this already narrow space, where will the vehicles move further, and till when,” he asks.

Closed or non-functional bridges, another menace

The other problem with Mumbai’s connectivity is the long list of closed or non-functional bridges, which otherwise could have helped ease the traffic.

This includes Hancock bridge: closed, Carnac bridge: closed, Lower Parel (Delisle bridge): half functional, Byculla fruit market bridge: closed, DN Road: closed, and Mahapalika Road: partially closed.

“To add to these existing woes, Sion ROB, Byculla Bridge, Parel TT and Belasis Road, all these are set for demolition. Where are the vehicles planned to be accommodated? I asked the ones in charge during a meeting today, but they do not care about anything. It’s a political game for them. The ones who would suffer will be us, Mumbaikars,” exclaimed Shenoy.

Shenoy and his team are now planning to criminally prosecute the IAS officers placed at the BMC, while also filing a petition against them in the court, he said.

"If we reach city in 20 minutes & take 2 hrs to travel within, there is 0 point"

“It’s exciting to think we can come to Mumbai in just 20 minutes or so. My worry is what about the further journey? I have heard about what traffic looks like in that city. If we touch down the island city in 20 minutes, but if it would take 2 hours to travel within, there is zero point,” said a motorist Divya Nagpal, a resident of Navi Mumbai.

Ajay Sanghi from Mumbai said, “I am a frequent traveller via the Eastern Freeway. I’ve seen what the freeway could look like during rains or festive seasons, with its badly moving traffic. Hopefully, MTHL will prove to be a blessing for our city, and not yet another traffic hell.”

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