It was a heady moment of people power when citizens threw open the new Vasai east-west flyover after they got tired of waiting for it to be inaugurated. For the first time in years, people were able to cross between east and west Vasai in a matter of minutes, instead of braving hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic. A day later, however, they were in for a rude shock when they saw the flyover had been closed again.

After mid-day’s report on how locals removed barricades and opened the bridge for traffic, authorities put heavier ones back in place yesterday. Pics/Hanif Patel
After mid-day’s report on how locals removed barricades and opened the bridge for traffic, authorities put heavier ones back in place yesterday. Pics/Hanif Patel

In a front-page report yesterday (‘Tired of waiting for netas, locals throw open Vasai east-west bridge’), mid-day had reported how residents and motorists in Vasai got tired of waiting for the flyover to be launched even a month after it was completed. They had read news reports that it would be inaugurated on Wednesday by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, so when they saw the flyover was still shut they decided to take matters into their own hands and open it.

After the MMRDA closed the new flyover, locals were once again forced to brave hours of traffic on the older and narrower bridge to cross between Vasai east and west
After the MMRDA closed the new flyover, locals were once again forced to brave hours of traffic on the older and narrower bridge to cross between Vasai east and west

After reading mid-day’s report, several citizens wrote to express how happy they were about the Vasai flyover finally being opened (see ‘Readers react’. Local residents were especially relieved that they would no longer have to depend on the older and narrower bridge they had been using for 50 years. It was already in a dilapidated condition, and would often lead to traffic snarls for hours together.

But their joy was short-lived. By nightfall, MMRDA officials decided to close the flyover again. At 10 pm, officials barricaded the ROB. This time, they also used heavy iron girders to block the path, to ensure the flyover can’t be opened as easily as the last time. Additional security was also deployed at the site. Although the flyover has already been delayed by five years, MMRDA claims that it is yet to complete the bridge, as some finishing touches are left. But angry locals suspect the flyover was merely closed to make a point and ensure that the flyover is inaugurated by a VIP (see ‘Locals angry’). Late last evening, political workers also staged a protest over the closing of the flyover.