Mumbai: Rs 250-cr elevated road is criminal waste of public money, says experts

Transport experts claim that MMRDA should clear the stretch on the SCLR between WEH and CST Road junction of squatters and illegal structures to resolve peak-hour traffic woes, rather than building a 3-km-long elevated road

A year after the world’s most delayed project, the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), was thrown open for public on April 18, 2014, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) now plans to construct an elevated road starting from the Western Express Highway (WEH), passing via Hans Bhugra Marg on SCLR and all the way up to Kurla. Construction cost of the 3-km-long road has been pegged at Rs 250 crore.

The existing width of the Hans Bhugra Marg which links WEH and SCLR is over 40 metres
The existing width of the Hans Bhugra Marg which links WEH and SCLR is over 40 metres

However, transport experts have already condemned the project, terming it as a criminal waste of public money. A few claimed that with certain stretches on the existing road being over 40 metres wide, the planning authority should focus on clearing encroachments between Kalina University and Kurla flyover, which lead to ugly traffic jams.

A graphical  representation of the proposed elevated road connecting the WEH and CST Road junction
A graphical  representation of the proposed elevated road connecting the WEH and CST Road junction

Experts speak
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta, who travelled along the route for the proposed elevated road on Sunday, said that rather than wasting public money, authorities such as the BMC, traffic department must join hands and get rid of the squatters.

“I fail to understand why the MMRDA wants to waste public money on constructing an elevated road between Kurla and WEH on the SCLR. Traffic issues during peak hours can be dealt with if the BMC, MMRDA, Traffic cops and local police come together and initiate action against those encroaching upon the road.

I also found out that the Hans Bhugra Road is more than 40 metres wide and free of encroachers,” Gupta said. Seconding Gupta’s opinion, another transport expert, Ashok Datar, added, “In order to resolve the traffic issue, the authorities need to clear illegal parking and the encroachment between the WEH and CST junction. Resolving traffic woes needs will. It is not rocket science.”

First hand account
When this correspondent visited the stretch between the SCLR and CST junction, using the WEH yesterday, he discovered that majority of the road was wide enough to allow smooth flow of traffic. However, it was the illegal parking, encroachment by garages and scrap dealers on the side of the CST Road that creates a bottleneck.

This eventually leads to ugly traffic jams during morning and evening peak hours. Even the Hans Bhugra Marg between Kalina signal and WEH was wide enough to allow free flow of traffic, as described by Gupta. The only issue was the illegal shanties and plant nurseries built on the footpath.

Official speak
Speaking to mid-day, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “While we have prepared a concept plan, the final decision will be taken only after we are done with the Detailed Project Report (DPR).

The sole intention behind planning the project is to resolve traffic woes on the SCLR between CST junction, Kalina area and Hans Bhugra Marg.”

The elevated road

>> The 3-km-long elevated road will start after Kapadia Nagar junction on the SCLR, and run parallel to Kalina University

>> The road will turn left at Kalina Junction and will run parallel to the Maharashtra Fire Service Academy and Kalina Forensic Lab 

>> It will then pass over the WEH and Vakola flyover, and end at the north-bound stretch of the WEH service road 

>> MMRDA also wants to construct a 350-metre-long underpass near CST Road junction, below the elevated road, so that motorists travelling from Kalina to BKC and back can use it

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