Ongoing monorail and flyover works in Chembur eat heavily into road space and cause hours of traffic congestion every day; residents say they are fed up of over two years of living in dug-up suburb
TRAFFIC jams rule the roads in Chembur, thanks to big and small transport infrastructure works that have kept the central suburb dug-up for two years now. Monorail and flyover works are the biggest culprits today.
For over two years, every other road has been dug up for repairs or to lay footpaths, with residents having to learn and unlearn the navigation of the suburb every few weeks.
Now, adding to these traffic woes are the ongoing construction works on the Phase I monorail corridor from Chembur to Wadala and the Suman Nagar flyover on the Eastern Express Highway.
Monorail to Wadala
"The monorail construction work makes it very difficult to travel on RC Marg," said Taran Alag (28), a Chembur resident. "To cover 200-300 metres, it takes more than an hour."
The width of RC Marg is reduced to half because of the monorail work, making it impossible for more than one car to pass at a time in one direction.
"The annoying part is that most often the traffic police and the private guards appointed by MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) to monitor traffic are absent and the situation goes from bad to worse," said Alag.
MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatakar denied the private security guards did not perform their duty properly.
"While starting the work on RC Marg, we had taken all necessary permissions from the traffic police and now as well we are working in close coordination with them so that minimum inconvenience is caused to commuters wanting to reach or leave the Chembur railway station," said Kawatakar.
Suman Nagar flyover
A major choking point for motorists between south Mumbai and Navi Mumbai is the Suman Nagar Junction in Chembur. A portion of the VN Purav Marg (Sion-Trombay road) has been barricaded to allow the construction of the Suman Nagar flyover.
Traffic to and from popular travel destinations like Nashik and Pune passes through this point and the limited space here leaves long lines of vehicles stuck bumper-to-bumper, moving a few inches every few minutes in neutral-first-neutral fashion.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation is constructing the Rs 25-crore, 500-metre Suman Nagar flyover, which is expected to ease traffic during peak hours.
A traffic official, who requested anonymity, said the chaos was likely to continue even next year. "The traffic situation at Suman Nagar will continue in the new year as well since the flyover work is still pending," said the official.
"Everyday more than 80,000 vehicles use this road to go towards Pune, Navi Mumbai, Goa ufffd Till the work is complete, the traffic on this road will move at snail*s pace."
Another reason for traffic problems on this stretch is the heavy vehicles moving between the Mumbai Port Trust and Navi Mumbai, using the Eastern Express Highway.
Shirish Pawar (38), who travels daily from Chembur to Masjid Bunder, said congestion near the RCF head office Priyadarshini had become the usual state of affairs.
"Traffic congestion near Priyadarshini wastes not only time but also money that we spend on petrol," said Pawar.
"Taking the train is also a problem as reaching Chembur railway station during peak hours is another daunting task because of the monorail work."
Project name: Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail
Cost: Rs 2,716 crore
Project started: February 2009
Declared deadline: May 2011
Status of work: 80 per cent work completed
REDUCED TRAFFIC:The Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur monorail route will help reduce nearly 28,000 taxis and
autorickshaw trips and take 25,000 private cars off the roads
REDUCED travel TIME: The MMRDA claims that the 40-minute commute will be reduced to a 21-minute one
REDUCED CROWD: The four cars in the monorail system can transport 8,000-12,000 people per hour per direction (PHPD)
REDUCED POLLUTION: Monorail produces less noise and is eco-friendly
Chembur is a crucial suburban link for traffic between south Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, but work at various points for the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle phase of the monorail and the construction of the flyover at the Suman Nagar Junction on the Eastern Express Highway have combined to make passing through the central suburb an excruciating crawl. Traffic jams at Navjivan Society road (above), Chembur Naka (top) and Mehul Road (top-left) tell the story of the impossible congestion levels.
No. of vehicles that pass through Suman Nagar Junction every day
Rs 25 cr
Cost of building the Suman Nagar flyover