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Concrete roads, but no concrete deadlines in Mumbai's western suburbs

In the second part of mid-day’s campaign, we visit the Western suburbs and find that commuters have been facing traffic jams, congestion and diversions for months; most roads will be ready only by next year

Continuing our campaign, which demands that the city’s roads be returned to its rightful owners the commuters our team surveyed four key spots in the Western suburbs.

Most roads are either undergoing concretisation or asphalt ing, or have been dug up to lay ducts or repair old storm water drains.

Also read: Mumbai's eastern suburbs face a rough ride this monsoon

The monsoon is less than a month away, but these projects will stretch well into the next year, with the exception of J P Road at Andheri, work on which is supposed to be completed by May 31.

Chikuwadi, Borivli (West)
Work began: In first week of April
Expected to be completed: By last week of December
Ground reality: The road at Padma Nagar in Borivli’s Chikuwadi area was dug up to lay asphalt in April, throwing the traffic out of gear.

Laying of asphalt is on, but residents say the road did not need repairs and would have lasted another monsoon. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Laying of asphalt is on, but residents say the road did not need repairs and would have lasted another monsoon. Pic/Nimesh Dave

One lane was operational, but in our subsequent visit on May 6, we found that the entire road had been closed off. Locals opined that the road didn’t need work, and would’ve lasted another monsoon. Residents endure endless honking by motorists, and the slow pace of work has only added to their woes.

Local corporator says: Pravin Shah, the corporator of this area, said, “We hope there is no flooding here, as the storm water drain work has been taken care of. But as work on the road will be incomplete, I hope it is not spoilt when the monsoon arrives. I am following up this issue with the administration.”

BMC speak
Vijayanand Bole, assistant municipal commissioner, R/Central ward, said, “I will check on the status of this road. Most road construction work is done by the Roads Department.”

Voices

Prashant Bhambore, local resident who owns a coaching academy
The road was absolutely fine; no work was required. People always start doing these things during elections. The complete road has been blocked, making it difficult for vehicles to pass.

Aarti Rawal, receptionist
Due to digging, bus number 245 has been diverted. Passengers find it tough to alight at another place and walk till here. If work on the road continues in the monso-ons, it’ll be a nightmare for us.

J P Road, Andheri market area, Andheri (West)
Work began: In first week of March
Expected to be completed: Before May 31
Ground reality: With the road in terrible condition due to construction for the metro, BMC has asked the MMRDA to get it repaired. The market road, which was shut for more than two years, was opened up for the traffic, and then again converted into a no-entry zone. Traffic jams are noticed throughout the day near Andheri station.

The entire road is a no-entry zone for vehicles. Pic/Sameer Markande
The entire road is a no-entry zone for vehicles. Pic/Sameer Markande

Local corporator says: Mohsin Haider said, “The most important issue is
that the road is narrow. Until the road is widened, there will be traffic issues. However, the BMC and I are following up with the MMRDA to get the work done. We hope there is no flooding in the monsoon like every year.”

Authorities say
Vishwas Shankarwar, assistant municipal commissioner of K/West ward, said, “We are coordinating with the MMRDA and will try and get the road repaired before the monsoon. Work on storm water drains is also on simultaneously, and we hope there is no flooding.” While MMRDA’s Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said he would have to check on the date, the executive engineer in charge of the project said the road would be fixed before the monsoons.

Voices

Shubha Prabhale, a social worker who regularly uses this road
Work has been on for months. The road was completely functional earlier, but has been shut now. Autos are not ready to ply, and during monsoons, it’s going to be really difficult to walk. Vehicles are not allowed.

Nikunj Pandya, local shopkeeper
Earlier, we would park our bikes just outside the shop. Now, it is next to impossible. The monsoons will see this patch becoming a nightmare.

Jawahar Nagar station road, Goregaon (West)
Work began: In last week of March
Expected to be completed: By mid-2015
Ground reality: This 30-feet wide asphalt road is being concretised. Since BEST buses go to Goregaon station via the lone operational lane, congestion is a regular feature. There are no footpaths and hawkers have taken over whatever space is left.

With BEST buses using the single operational lane and hawkers occupying the rest of the space, pedestrians have nowhere to go. Pic/Nimesh Dave
With BEST buses using the single operational lane and hawkers occupying the rest of the space, pedestrians have nowhere to go. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Local corporator says: Corporator Kiran Patel said, “We tried to get in touch with the BEST to see if they could take a longer route to make the job easier, but they did not respond. We hope there is no problem during rains. Work on the excavated portion will be completed before May 25, but the whole road will take another year.”

BMC speak
Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner, P/South ward, said, “Work is on in full swing and I don’t think there will be any problems. Work on the dug-up portion will be completed before the monsoon and we are following up with the contractor.”

Voices

Ankit Shah, local resident who owns a medical shop
Work has been on since a couple of months. There will be trouble in the monsoons if it isn’t completed on time.

C K Chauhan, local resident
It’s great that the roads are being revamped, but the work should be carried out at an appropriate time. Monsoons are just around the corner and such projects take a long time.

R D P Road No. 1, Charkop village, Kandivli (West)
Work began: In second week of February
Expected to be completed: By mid-2015
Ground reality: R D P Road no. 1, near Kids Land School, is being concretised. All bylanes leading to this road have been shut as well, forcing people to take a long detour. The approaching monsoons will make things difficult for both pedestrians and car and bike owners.

The road and bylanes leading to it have been shut off, forcing locals to take a long detour. Walking along this stretch during the monsoons will be a very difficult task. Pic/Nimesh Dave
The road and bylanes leading to it have been shut off, forcing locals to take a long detour. Walking along this stretch during the monsoons will be a very difficult task. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Local corporator says: Corporator Suresh Kawthankar said, “Work on half of this road was done some two years ago. Only a half-kilometre stretch is left now. This won’t cause problems to anyone.”

BMC speak
Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner of R/South ward, said, “The concretisation work is done by the central agency. As far as flooding or traffic jams are concerned, we do not foresee any problems. Work on only a small stretch of road is left.”

Voices

Babu Chaudhry, owns a medical shop in Charkop village
As one lane has been dug up, the other lane is now two-way. This leads to severe congestion. Work is also coming along very slowly, and will surely cause problems in the rains.

Ramesh Ghansi, local resident
The BMC has a habit of noticing faults in the roads just when the monsoons are around the corner.

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