Authorities realise that four pedestrian bridges that cut across WEH, stand in the way of the planned Dahisar-Andheri metro corridor
While the city’s traffic department has been demanding more foot overbridges (FOBs) on the Western and Express Highways to ensure pedestrian safety, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is getting ready to dismantle 3-4 of these bridges between the Dahisar-Andheri stretch.
Highly placed sources at MMRDA told this newspaper the three FOBs on Western Express Highway were constructed at a cost of Rs 4.8 crore. They will now have to make way for the Dahisar-Andheri East metro corridor that will cut across the arterial road.
“We will have to dismantle the FOBs between Dahisar East and Andheri east for the construction of metro line as the metro alignment will pass on the one side of the main carriageway of the WEH,” an MMRDA official said, requesting anonymity.
On Sunday Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated work for two important metro rail projects at the MMRDA Grounds at Bandra Kurla Complex. The two elevated metro lines are Dahisar East-Andheri East (16.50-km) and Dahisar East-Charkop-DN Nagar (18.60-km).
These will be constructed at an estimated cost of R4,737 crore. The 16.5-km long Metro corridor will have 16 stations and the system has been designed for 8-coach trains. The authorities are expecting that the line will serve 5.29 lakh Mumbaikars by 2021.
Danger across the road
The dismantling of FOBs will expose pedestrians to vehicular traffic. To counter this, authorities have plans to install traffic signals to enable pedestrians crossing the road. This will ensure that they don’t have to travel long distances or take the risk of cutting through traffic.
Jivan Golambde. a resident of Dindoshi said, “While the metro coming up is good news, pedestrian safety is also important. Whenever, the authorities dismantle the FOBs on the highway, they should make pedestrian crossing signals because it becomes very difficult to cross a highway in fast moving traffic. Those who attempt this expose themselves to accidents.”
Golambde, also had a word to the city's urban planners, “Authorities need to start planning in a better way. Just the way in which they are thinking of dismantling FOBs proves that there was no proper planning that was done when FOBs were first constructed.”
MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, “We are coming up with the [Metro] project for the benefit of the people, and so during construction we might have to dismantle the FOBs. However, we will make sure that they are reconstructed soon.”
While there is no exact timeframe of when the FOBs will be dismantled, it has been estimated that it will happen within a year of the beginning of the construction of this metro corridor. That, the MMRDA estimates, will start in six months.
MMRDA constructed these FOBs
Between 2005 and 2008, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority constructed and widened the Eastern and Western Express Highways, alter handing them to the Public Works Department . As a part of the work in order to provide safety to the pedestrian footpaths were also constructed and 15 FOB — six on the EEH and nine on WEH — were constructed.