Though the much-awaited Eastern Freeway which connects the city with the eastern suburbs was finally thrown open for public use at 11.30 am yesterday, not many motorists were seen using the freeway. Moreover, considerable traffic jams were observed on the arterial Dr BR Ambedkar Road from CST to Sion circle.
Commenting on the small number of vehicles on the bridge, an official from the traffic department said, “Since it has been opened today, not many motorists must be aware of it and hence there aren’t many vehicles on the freeway. We expect the traffic here to go up by next week.”
The freeway was thrown open for public yesterday, despite being inaugurated by the chief minister the day before. The delay was because a particular section of the bridge was blocked by the pandal constructed for the inaugural ceremony. The authorities took a day to dismantle it, citing safety issues. Vehicular flow at and below the Orange Gate entrance of the freeway remained unaffected. Traffic police officials were deployed at both the ends to keep motorcycles, autorickshaws, tempos and trucks off.
Rain jams traffic
Despite traffic police’s claims that the entire Sion-Panvel Highway was free from jams, bumper-to-bumper traffic was witnessed on the stretch between Everard Nagar and Sion Flyover. In addition, several parts of the city witnessed utter chaos due to heavy showers that flooded the roads yesterday.
Aiming for A record
Abhishek Chopra, who wanted to be the first person to travel on the freeway after its opening at 11.30 am, covered the entire stretch in just 18 minutes. Chopra said he was hoping to enter the Limca Book of Records for being the first motorist to drive on newly-inaugurated flyovers.
By plying on the freeway, Chopra took his tally of flyovers to six. “I was there before other motorists showed up. I am also thankful to the police officials who helped make sure that I was allowed to go first,” said Chopra, adding that he was present at the spot since 8.30 am.