While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is all set to open the signal-free ambitious Eastern Freeway project connecting Orange Gate in South Mumbai with Chembur, there are no CCTV cameras and other surveillance systems on this entire stretch to keep a tab on the motorists using it.
Although the traffic police has declared maximum speed as 60km/ hr, and 40- 50 kms/ hr on sharp turns, transport experts feel that motorists will take advantage of the lack of surveillance and cross speed limits, which could lead to accidents.
When questioned whether MMRDA had plans to set up CCTV and surveillance systems on the 13.59- km freeway, Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “ As of now, there is no plan to install CCTV cameras on the freeway. But in the future, if we see the need, we will coordinate with the concerned departments and install CCTV cameras. When we open the freeway, we expect that people won’t cross the prescribed speed limit on the freeway.” Transport expert Jitendra Gupta says, “ I believe that the road should not be opened without 24/ 7 surveillance. There are many motorists who don’t follow traffic rules and I am sure they will cross the speed limits on freeway. The MMRDA should take traffic police in confidence and see how the motorists can be stopped from speeding.” The 9.29- km- long first part of the Eastern Freeway and the 4.3- km long Anik- Panjarpol Link Road will be thrown open later in May. The entire stretch will cut down travel time between Shivaji Chowk (Chembur) and Orange Gate in South Mumbai from an hour to 30 minutes and improve connectivity between the island city and the eastern suburbs.
The road will also decrease the traffic burden from P D’Mello Road and Port Road.
MMRDA is also contemplating whether or not to allow two- wheelers on the Rs 700 crore freeway or not, as they are likely to cause debilitating traffic jams as well as accidents.
The Eastern Freeway is being touted as the longest elevated road in an urban setting in the country.