Bumper to bump traffic
It has barely been over a month since the monsoon arrived in the city and brought some respite from the heat and humidity.
The season has also brought along several reasons for motorists to frown. It is not water logging that is testing the endurance of those behind the wheel, but the bone-jarring rides and slow-moving traffic they have to face as a result of potholes mushrooming on roads all across the city. There are some particularly trying stretches, especially patches on the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and Western Express Highway (WEH).
The JVLR is one of the most important roads in the city, as it connects the WEH with the EEH. Heavy vehicles and outstation buses use this road round the clock and massive potholes that have appeared at some places on the flyover, pose a potential skidding hazard for two-wheelers.
The Gandhi Nagar junction flyover on the JVLR near Vikhroli has earned the distinction of being the worst pothole-ridden section of flyover in the city. The road has turned into a veritable obstacle course, thereby making driving a task to reckon with. The situation turns from bad to worse at night, as some of the lights on this flyover have malfunctioned for the past few months.
The situation was not as bad several months before the rains, but potholes were already a feature of the stretch prior to the monsoon. After the recent rain, several more potholes have appeared. The Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL), which is a toll-collecting agency, maintains this flyover.
An official from MEPL said, "We have already done pre-monsoon maintenance and repair work on flyovers maintained by us in Mumbai. If at all any new potholes appear, we repair them at the earliest so that motorists don't have to face any inconvenience."
Driving on the EEH has also become a daunting task for motorists entering and exiting the city from Thane. Potholes have once again begun appearing on stretches all along the way. Motorists coming into the city do not face a problem after crossing the Mulund Toll Plaza. Similarly, they face no problems while motoring on the Mulund-Airoli junction flyover on the EEH.
Those taking the Ghatkopar flyover have to face a bumpy ride, as the stretch is pothole-ridden. The concerned authority had repaired stretches on this route just before the monsoon. Motorists coming towards south Mumbai via Dr Ambedkar Road are also faced with a bumpy ride. The condition of the flyover over the Dadar Tram Terminus is questionable and there are also potholes on the northbound carriage way, and these are skid-prone zones for two-wheelers. The worst pothole-ridden patch on this flyover is the 50-metre stretch at the southbound end of the flyover.
BMC ward officer (F-South) Bhagyashri Kapse said, "It is true that the stretch comes under my ward office. I will check with other official BMC officials from my ward before commenting."
Motorist proceeding towards Borivali from Bandra via the WEH do not have to endure too many bumps, but potholes have begun appearing on some stretches of the flyovers.
Potholes have already begun appearing on the recently repaired Jog flyover in Andheri, with a massive pothole awaiting the unwary on the southbound carriage way of the flyover.
Motorists driving towards Borivali also have to navigate in and around potholes at the Aarey Colony junction flyover and Kandivali flyover.
The worst flyover on this stretch is the one just before the Dahisar Toll Plaza. Evening traffic is brought to a crawl at this location as a result of the potholes.
An official from MEPL said, "The flyover between Santa Cruz and Andheri has been repaired before the monsoon. We will continue repair work as and when necessary.
Life is all pothole ha ha hee hee
Seeing the humour in potholes might be a tough thing to do, especially if you have just broken your car's axle or your own ankle (ouch, that's painful) navigating one. Yet, what do they say about smile and the world smiles with you and all that kind of stuff? So even as you bump through that cavity in the road, this columnist is wondering…
>> Whether the lone Indian swimmer at the London Olympics 2012, Gagan A P Ulalmath practised for the 1500m men’'s freestyle event in a Mumbai pothole?
>> Why Mumbai does not invite Chinese divers to practise dives by putting springboards on potholes? Post-dives, they can even try the ‘Chinese bhel’ that has taken over Mumbai roads with a vengeance
>> Why Mumbai gynaecologists do not opt for the pothole delivery method, after 'normal'' deliveries, and Caesareans, delivering babies as a vehicle goes over a pothole! Why can’t the world’s doctors be invited to view this medical miracle?
>> Why the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) does not “market” potholes with ‘pothole beauty treatments’ (drink piyush in a champagne glass while availing of a pothole mud bath) ‘pothole tourism’ (where tourists are taken on a drive through Mumbai’s potholes, like that 'wadi bashing' you have in Dubai), even pothole gondola rides - aila! Move over Venice, Mumbai has taken over!
>> Whether the Bombay Yacht Club at Colaba will ever think about holding a local yachting championship in a pothole?
>> Whether the American of Indian origin, astronaut Sunita Williams who is currently leading a mission in space, will send a NASA astronaut training team to Mumbai soon, to walk on potholed-roads to prepare for a moonwalk
>> Whether the breakdance (break a bone here and break a bone there) will get a revival thanks to Mumbai’s potholes?
>> Whether Mumbai’s orthopaedics will specialize in pothole surgeries, with an Operation Theatre in hospitals known as Pothole Theatre?
>> Why our Bollywood song writers who wrote those immortal rain songs like: O Sajna barkha bahaar aye: Parakh (Lata Mangeshkar) and Ek ladki bheegi-bhaagi si: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (Kishore Kumar) now do not start writing songs on potholes like: Pothole ka mahina, haddi kare tod… sung to sawaan ka mahina, pawan kare shor…
Why, in these days of pothole pain, are you reading this tripe, anyway?