How BMC plans to end nightmarish traffic jams at Amar Mahal junction

BMC decides to widen the Ghatkopar-Mahul Road from 80 feet to 120 feet to decongest the junction during peak hours; Move receives mixed response from experts and locals

One of the busiest junctions on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH), and every motorist’s nightmare during rush hours, the Amar Mahal junction is likely to get a facelift.

Also read: Traffic jam on EEH near new Santacruz-Chembur Link Road

The 800-metre stretch between the Amar Mahal junction and Sahakar cinema will be widened by demolishing the adjoining structures. Pic/Satej patil
The 800-metre stretch between the Amar Mahal junction and Sahakar cinema will be widened by demolishing the adjoining structures. Pic/Satej Patil

Taking cognisance of the bottlenecks during morning and evening peak hours, the BMC has decided to widen the adjacent Ghatkopar-Mahul Road to decongest the junction by increasing the width of the road from the existing 80 feet to 120 feet. This will allow free flow of traffic towards Ghatkopar, Chembur and the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR).

The junction has always been an important one, as traffic headed from the Eastern suburbs towards the Western suburbs and the Island city converges here. Also, the construction of a flyover alongside SCLR — to decongest the junction — has failed to yield desired results.

So, to tackle the traffic menace, the BMC has now decided to widen an 800-metre stretch between the junction and Sahakar cinema. The project is expected to kick off in the next six months and is likely to take a year’s time to finish.

“We have decided to widen this stretch, as it will help motorists going towards Chembur and Ghatkopar,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zone-V) Bharat Marathe.

Hurdles ahead
However, the widening is easier said than done. There are 264 residential and commercial structures on this road, as well as a religious structure in the area, which will get affected once the civic body initiates the project.

Keeping in mind the opposition it will face from the Project Affected People (PAPs), the BMC has already initiated the process of identifying PAPs eligible for rehabilitation.

“There are 217 commercial and 46 residential structures. Besides, there is a religious structure in the area. Once the eligibility criteria are fixed, people will be relocated and the structures will be demolished. Since the existing road is just 80 feet wide, it will be widened by 20 feet on either side. This will help ease traffic woes considerably,” said an engineer from the M-West ward office.

Appreciating the BMC’s decision to widen the stretch, DCP (Traffic) Punjabrao Ugale said, “This is a good move. It will not only ease traffic going towards Ghatkopar, but also largely reduce the burden on the SCLR,” said.

Expertspeak
“This move was the need of the hour, as we have been observing traffic congestion at the junction for several years. Motorists coming from Ghatkopar (East) and heading for SCLR travel via GM Road. At present, travelling during peak hours via this junction is a nightmare. However, widening of this [Ghatkopar-Mahul] road isn’t enough. Even the adjacent arterial lane should be widened so that motorists can use it as a shortcut for the SCLR,” said Jitendra Gupta, transport expert.  

Localspeak
Expressing apprehension over the actual implementation of the project, local activist P V Raghavan said, “The BMC has been talking about widening this road for almost two decades now. The proposal surfaces every once a while and then vanishes. Also, the entire purpose of the project gets defeated if they restrict the widening work till Sahakar cinema. They should also widen the road from Ghatkopar station to Rajawadi Hospital and the 100-feet Road too.”   

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