Mumbai: With private offices allowed to reopen with up to 10 per cent of their staff strength, there were major traffic snarls on the Western Express Highway (WEH) and the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) on Monday.
Thousands of office goers took to the roads in their private vehicles or via car-pool to reach their workplaces, which opened after more than two months as part of `Mission Begin Again’. In a bid to tackle the congestion, the Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) activated the traffic signals in the city, which were otherwise deactivated with only orange blinkers during the lockdown period.
A senior traffic officer said all 256 automated Area Traffic Control (ATC) signals were activated, while 200 of 388 non-ATC signals were activated. During morning and evening peak hours, major arterial roads of Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, LBS Road, SV Road, and freeways such as the Western Express Highway and the Eastern Express Highway reported dense traffic. Toll plazas at Mulund, Vashi, and Dahisar reported major traffic congestion.
The areas of Kandivali, Malad, Andheri and Bandra along the WEH were highly congested, as many private and corporate offices reopened in these areas. Except those on medical leave due to comorbidities or those above 55 years of age, all traffic police personnel were deployed on the roads on Monday. "There was at least a 50 per cent rise in the number of vehicles on roads. While there were no traffic snarls as such, there definitely were a lot more vehicles on roads in comparison to the lockdown period.
While there were no nakabandis, we continue to impound vehicles in random checks, of those who are found riding/driving on the streets for non-permitted services," said Pravinkumar Padwal, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic). While the state government has allowed private offices to operate with up to 10 percent strength as per requirement, it seems everyone is coming out to resume work, said an official.
Amid eased restrictions, movement of people with 1+2 members in cabs and auto-rickshaws only for ``essential’’ purposes has been allowed. While two-wheelers are not allowed to take pillion riders, many were seen traveling with one. Moreover, BEST bus services for the general public resumed from Monday, and 2,200 BEST buses hit the roads.