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Byculla bridge closed for repairs, but nobody told commuters

BMC and traffic police blame each other for not informing motorists about closure of bridge and diversions; meanwhile, people were stuck in a massive jam in the morning yesterday

Commuters suffered the consequences of a lack of coordination between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the traffic police division yesterday. While closing Gloria Bridge in Byculla for repairs, the two authorities forgot to inform the public.


Long way down: Snarls devoured the road all the way up to Hindmata and Parel, since Gloria Bridge at Byculla was shut for repairs yesterday. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Upwards from Byculla, there was chaos on the southbound carriageway of Ambedkar Road due to the closure. A cascading effect meant that vehicles piled up all way up to Parel and Hindmata Junction.


No word out: Both the BMC and the traffic police failed to inform motorists in time. Signs were eventually put up, but it was too late

Till evening, motorists going to south Mumbai were not aware of the closure. While the civic authorities did put up display boards eventually, it was too late: motorists were trapped in the jams. 

With no one bothering to tell people why the bridge had been shut, rumours started doing rounds — one was that an accident had occurred and another purported a ‘Lalbaug bandh’.

The bridge underwent resurfacing, and is being reconstructed at the bends. The entire job is estimated to cost about Rs 2
crore.

‘It’s their fault’
Both the civic and traffic departments have decided to pass the buck to the other over the lack of communication. S O Kori, chief engineer of BMC’s bridges department, said, “The traffic department had taken the responsibility of informing people about the closure and traffic diversion plans to avoid congestion.” The traffic cops promptly blamed the civic body for not publicising the shutdown. “We issued the NOC to the BMC two-three days ago. They should have relayed the information to motorists. It is a practice to issue a notification in newspapers before starting work,” said Dr B K Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

What is being done?
The Gloria bridge, near Gloria Church, needs work on its joints. It will take 15 days to repair the 32 joints on the bridge.
“We actually needed a month, but the traffic department didn’t allow us to shut the bridge for that long.

There was no scope to work with one single lane operational, as it would’ve taken 42 days. With the allowance of 15 days’ closure, we have to work day and night to finish the job,” said Kori.

Beside this bridge, which is closed entirely for vehicles, the BMC is going to start repairs on three other bridges — at Princess Street, Kemps Corner and Mahalaxmi — after the monsoon. These, too, will need to be closed off for traffic.

Voices

Surendranath nigudkar, works at a private company
Whichever authority it may be, they should have informed us through the media to avoid all this inconvenience. How were we to know of the traffic jam ahead?

Amrutbhai panchal, businessman
Even after paying taxes, we are not getting better roads. The authority should be more serious about the value of commuters’ time and should have the courtesy to inform people about traffic diversions 

Sushil chaubey, businessman
There were rumours about an accident and a bandh in the area. There should be coordination between the two agencies; their lack of communication affects us all.

Traffic diversions
There will be diversions of traffic at Amar Mahal junction, Suman Nagar, Gandhi Market, Matunga, Dadar TT, Fire Brigade Signal (Dadar East), Sardar Hotel and Bawla Compound in Kalachowkie, to ease traffic flow on Dr BR Ambedkar Road.
“Hopefully, there won’t be a problem from tomorrow, as we will put signs and will use FM radio, NGO volunteers to spread awareness about the closure of the bridge and diversions,” said Keshav Patil, deputy commissioner of police, who is in charge of the head office of the eastern suburbs.    

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