If you are travelling from Borivali, Kandivali or Malad to South Mumbai via the Western Express Highway (WEH), chances are, your blood pressure will shoot up a few notches. If you are driving yourself, you’ll end up using all the curse words you know. And if someone else is driving, you’ll probably be tweeting all the curse words you know. This is because for the past few years, the traffic has been nothing short of a nightmare on the WEH, especially after the Metro rail construction began.
And the fact is, the authorities couldn’t care less.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Mumbai North-West, the situation has only worsened over the past few weeks. This is because of two additional infrastructure projects of MMRDA that have messed up traffic on WEH.
These projects are the widening of the Akurli subway in Kandivali, and creation of an embankment on Bandongri Hill next to Malad flyover. Every day, including on Sundays, one can witness traffic towards South Mumbai stretching up to several kilometres, snailing on at less than 5 kmph at several locations.
Due to the Akurli subway widening, perpendicular to the road leading to Kandivali Railway Station, one-and-half lane of the road has been eaten up. The result? Incessant honking, flared tempers, and a massive traffic jams that often leads to road rage incidents.
Widening of this subway was proposed back in September 2019 in a bid to decongest WEH as well as road connecting the railway station at a cost of Rs 26 crore. According to MMRDA officials, work is being done in phases. “Work up to sub-structure is complete and work on erecting piles and excavation is being done for pile cap. The stipulated completion time for this project is September 2022,” MMRDA sources said. In short, no immediate respite.
Likewise, another work, barely a km away, is also under way. This is on stabalising and mitigating the landslide area on Bandongari Hill along the WEH. Here as well, one-and-half lane is eaten up by the infra work.
According to MMRDA officials, work on this project began on March 26 and is expected to ready by December.
“For stabilisation and mitigation of landslide area, work is in progress and is under the supervision of VJTI. At present 35% work is complete,” an MMRDA official said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic, Western suburbs) Somnath Gharge claimed that there was no notable change in traffic on WEH over the past 15 days. “We expect a rise or decline in traffic in the coming work week, as this week had two public holidays, and many fully jabbed people are yet to buy local train passes. The complete effect on traffic will be seen only next week. As of now, the traffic is just what it was during the second wave of Covid,” he said.
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