Mumbai: Western Railway's roads to nowhere

Although the Andheri station’s elevated ‘auto deck’ and Dadar’s elevated road are more or less complete, officials are still unsure when these projects will be thrown open to the public

These are the perfect examples of what flawed planning and delayed execution can do to well-intentioned projects. Two of the city’s vital traffic control measures at railway stations continue to remain stuck in red tape.

The ambitious Rs 8 crore elevated auto deck in Andheri station is teeming with hawkers even before its official opening, while the status of the terminus in the R30 crore elevated road project at Dadar station remains incomplete.

Andheri station
The Western Railway (WR) had proposed the elevated ‘auto deck’ to allow commuters to quickly and easily move out of the station. An elevated road was built, connecting the widest foot over bridge (FOB), running parallel to the tracks.

As per the plan, a 100-metre long auto lane, starting from Swami Nityanand Road was built between the middle and north FOBs. The idea was that from that lane, auto rickshaws could pick up commuters from the FOB and return to the eastern side of the station, without crossing the north FOB.

One side of the elevated deck has been opened, however, the other side is still closed, as shops continue to operate in the alley where the auto deck ends. Pic/Khushnum Bhandari
One side of the elevated deck has been opened, however, the other side is still closed, as shops continue to operate in the alley where the auto deck ends. Pic/Khushnum Bhandari

While the plan sounds good on paper, the reality continues to be chaotic. At present, one end of this elevated deck has been opened unofficially, according to WR officials and is being used by people to walk to and from the FOB.

Since the steel barricades on both sides were removed a few days ago, commuters coming from the new Andheri (East) station building can walk along the ramp onto the FOB. However, hawkers and small stalls have cropped up, which were otherwise sitting on the FOBs.

“One side of the ramp has been opened unofficially. We are still trying to come up with a solution for removing shops on the other side,” said a WR official. The north side of the auto deck is blocked using metal sheets, as the shops, both legal and illegal, continue to operate in the alley where the auto deck ends.

The WR continues to find it challenging to remove them, and until then, the plan remains a failure. What’s more, the Andheri Metro’s FOB is also connected to the same bridge, adding to the commuter traffic.

Dadar station
An elevated road bridge at Dadar station, although ready, continues to lie unused. The WR authorities have completed a major portion of the R30-crore elevated Dadar midtown terminus rail project, which runs perpendicular to the Lokmanya Tilak Bridge at Dadar, connecting the east and west sides.

However, the status of the terminus remain incomplete. According to officials, the bridge is expected to be ready for use by March. The elevated road is expected to allow passengers who are looking to take long distance trains from WR’s platform 5 to come to the station directly.

While the paved elevated road is complete and ready for use, officals said portions of the road still have to be completed, and the status of the terminus is incomplete. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
While the paved elevated road is complete and ready for use, officals said portions of the road still have to be completed, and the status of the terminus is incomplete. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

At present, passengers have to either use the main Dadar FOBs congested most times of the day or walk down from Tilak Bridge. Sources told mid-day that portions of the road also need to be completed before it is thrown open to public. One can see work underway, aside from the road that stands ready. A tall building also seems to be coming up close to this midtown terminus.

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