Thane, also known as city of lakes,is a prominent route for several lakh motorists travelling to Mumbai daily to and fro. However,the journeys are mostly marred by roads congested with haphazardly parked auto-rickshaws, encroaching hawkers and an increasing number of vehicles.
Around 25 lakh vehicles are registered with Thane regional transport office, including nearly 14 lakh two-wheelers, two-lakh cars, over 45,000 jeeps, 85,000 trucks, 35,000 tourist cabs, 1.27 lakh autorickshaws, 11,000 tankers, 9,000 trailers and 1.42 lakh delivery vans.
“Illegal parking and hawking is one of the biggest (traffic) problems of Thane city. It needs tobe tackled on priority for immediate relief,” said traffic expert Rajesh Kamble while under scoring that oddly parked autos are one of main reasons for traffic jams near the railway station.
The Thane Station West area is packed with autos parked haphazardly, which adds to congestion. The woes further aggravate as the stationroadfromdistrict session court to Thane station also has a busy market which attracts high footfalls daily. In the midst of the crowd, squatting hawkers make it extremely difficult for the TMT buses to reach Thane station.
Next chronic spotis the Kopri bridge which is a prominent connector for motorists travelling to Mumbai. The bridge almost daily sees huge traffic twice a day; once between8amand 11am and then from 5pm to10pm. Most of the vehicles pile up in front of the Dnyanasadhana College. The old Kopri bridge was a twoplus twolanepathbuiltby Britons hence it was decided to reconstruct it to cater to the existing needs. In 2017, the bridge widening plan was approved, the work started from 2018 and the first phase of widening was completed this year. Now phase two works have started, which are likely to be completed by January 2023.
The other crucial road, which is hard to navigate, is the Majiwada Junction also known as the heart of Thane City. It sees heavy congestion due to narrow road and often bumper-to-bumper traffic is seen at the Junction as it connects to the Eastern Express Highway, Mumbai-Nashik Highway, Ghodbunder Road and Pokhran-2 Road.
“From Lake City Mall, Kapurbawdi to 'I Love Majiwada landmark', haphazardly parked auto-rickshaws andencroaching hawkers are the main reason behind the traffic jam,” said the RTO officials. Narrow roads are also the cause of traffic jams in front of the DMart at the Kolshet Road, which daily sees high footfall of customers.
The vehicles parked by them further constricts the space for pedestrians as well as motorists. The problem can only be solved if the road from DMart to the Kapur bawdi Junction is widened from the existing 20m to 40m, said experts, adding that traffic personnel should be deployed to stop illegal parking.
“I daily travel on the Kopri Bridge but due to slow work, the traffic has become frustrating. The jam goes till Nitin Company Junction. The MMRDA should complete the bridge work on war-footing.” Aditya Srivastava, Vartak Nagar resident.
“The DMart area badly needs road widening. Due to the cluster of autorickshaws, it takes us around 10 minutes to cross this area which should take just 1 minute.” Neal D'Souza, Kolshet resident.
“The Kapurbawdi to Majiwada stretch is dotted with encroaching stalls besides illegal auto stands. The traffic police must ask all drivers to park autos at the legal stand near Plants Nursery Shop. But around 20 personnel are needed for the task.” Sachin Shingare, Majiwada resident.