Mumbai: Fallen tanker with liquid cement leads to solid 9-hour jam on WEH

Tanker carrying liquid cement overturns on Western Express Highway, officials fail to move it even with cranes

The tanker overturned in the wee hours of the morning
The tanker overturned in the wee hours of the morning

A tanker carrying liquid cement overturned near the Kherwadi flyover in the wee hours, traffic came to a near standstill on the south-bound arm of the Western Express Highway this morning. Thousands of vehicles were stranded, all the way back to Andheri. Traffic officials were unable to move the tanker for more than nine hours, and even at the time of going to press, the tanker lay at the same spot.

At the time of going to press, officials were in the process of emptying the tanker to reduce its weight
At the time of going to press, officials were in the process of emptying the tanker to reduce its weight

The tanker was heading south from Andheri between 2.30 am and 3 am on Wednesday. When the tanker reached Prabodhankar Thakre flyover (Kherwadi), however, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which rammed into the divider and turned turtle. According to the police, the tanker driver had likely dozed off, causing the accident. The driver and tanker cleaner suffered minor injuries and were detained by Kherwadi police.

Traffic cops struggle to direct traffic as it came to a near standstill on the highway
Traffic cops struggle to direct traffic as it came to a near standstill on the highway

Traffic officials called cranes to lift the tanker, but failed to move it due to its weight. "The tanker weighs more than 50 tonnes, making it difficult to move," said ACP (Traffic) Pankaj Shirsat. "We had arranged two cranes, but that was not enough; we need bigger cranes," he recalled. The first attempt was made around 7.30 am, when two cranes managed to drag the tanker to the middle of the road before the officials gave up.

Citizens faced one of the worst traffic snarls. While traffic on the flyover moved slowly, below it, the roads towards Kherwadi junction had to close and vehicles had to be diverted to the service road. Passing motorists, curious to see what had happened, only slowed traffic further near the beginning of the flyover.

"Western Express Highway is always busy, and if something happens during rush hour, it is the worst," said a commuter, Rahul Choudhary, adding, "It left my place in Andheri around 9 am to drive to Lower Parel. Normally this journey takes an hour, but today I have only managed to reach Kherwadi in the same time. If the accident happened at 3 am, why are traffic cops taking so much time to resolve it?"

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