Bikers with plans to ride onto the Eastern Freeway, which will connect South Mumbai to Ghatkopar after it is thrown open to the public, can forget about it because officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) are concerned about accidents.
They believe that as parts of the freeway are elevated and have a few sharp curves, including tunnels, the risk of accidents involving two-wheelers are high. The officials however say that the final decision will be left to the Traffic Police Department. The stretch of the freeway between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and Wadala is elevated. The stretch leads to two tunnels burrowed into BARC hill, which exits in Chembur. The stretch thereafter has a few sharp curves that pose a potential risk for two-wheelers.
Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana said, “The decision to allow or restrict two-wheelers from using the Freeway will be taken by Traffic Police Department. However, we feel these vehicles should be restricted from entering the stretch as two parts of it are elevated and there are chances of accidents happening.”
Another reason why MMRDA officials feel that two-wheelers should not be allowed on the freeway is because the road has been planned with the intention to enable fast connectivity between South Mumbai and Ghatkopar, and this road will bring about decongestion on the Eastern Expressway between the two points. “A section of the Eastern Freeway is elevated and has some curves. The main reason behind the project is to allow for fast connectivity. If two-wheelers are allowed on this road, then there are chances of accidents happening,” another MMRDA official said on condition of anonymity.
>> Work on the Eastern Freeway began in 2008 at the cost of Rs 1,135 crore, and MMRDA is confident that motorists will be able to use the freeway by the middle of this year. A part of the 17-km long turnpike will be thrown open to the public in March. The project will help create better connectivity between the eastern suburbs and South Mumbai. The principal attraction is the up-down tunnel, which has been constructed under BARC hill.
>> Over 90 per cent of the work on the four-lane Anik-Panjrapole Link Road (APLR), which is a part of this project, will be completed shortly. MMRDA will commission four lanes of the eight-lane APLR project by January 2013. The remaining portion of the road will be ready for use around May-June 2013.