Road to Navi Mumbai to get wider from Thane

CR approves traffic blocks on railway tracks to execute long overdue plan to widen Vithawa road under bridge and ease the flow of traffic to satellite city

In a major reprieve from chaotic traffic for daily commuters between Thane and Navi Mumbai, the state's plan for improved connectivity between the two districts will finally see the light of day after nearly eight years of shilly-shallying.

Railway's decongestant: The plan to widen the road under the Kalwa
Vithawa railway bridge will bring relief to 5,000 daily commuters between
Thane and Navi Mumbai.
Pic/Sameer Markande

The Central Railway (CR) has cleared the proposal of widening the congested Vithawa road under bridge (RUB) near Thane on Saturday. The project entails widening the road underneath the railway tracks from two-to six-lane to help faster dispersal of vehicular traffic.

For long, the plan had failed to take off as the CR was reluctant to allow blocks on railway tracks and derail train schedule.

"The CR has been giving projects in Thane a step-motherly treatment for long. After nearly a decade, they have agreed to give permission for widening this RUB," said Thane MLC Sanjay Kelkar.

Transport experts estimate that 5,000 vehicles -- to and from IT parks at Belapur and commercial offices in Navi Mumbai -- pass through this underpass every day during peak hours, choking it with heavy traffic. 

"At a time when people are moving northward, this connectivity is much needed. Someone needs to be held responsible for this unnecessary delay in executing the project," said Ashok Datar, transport expert.

CR officials attributed the holdup to the constant change in design. "The work was supposed to happen a couple of years back, but there was some problem in (concrete) box pushing (creating space under the bridge)," said a CR official on condition of anonymity.

Officials claim that many agencies had asked for blocks on the railway tracks to be able to go ahead with sundry projects. For the past few weeks, the CR permitted blocks so NHAI could widen the road overbridge beyond Kalyan during which several train services were cancelled during the afternoon. The railways also allowed blocks for carrying out work at Kopri bridge near Thane.

As a major part of these works is over, blocks have been allowed for carrying out this RUB work. "We have given 35 blocks for carrying out this work," said V Malegaonkar, chief PRO, CR.

World class station soon
General Manager of CR, Subodh Jain visited Thane station a couple of days back for inspecting several proposed works. Thane station has been selected for a major overhaul to make it a world-class station. The GM has promised that a third foot overbridge will be constructed at Thane station to ease crossing for commuters.
A plan to revamp the station building, level the platforms, and improve the lighting on the premises is also underway.

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