Mumbai: Finally, BMC shuts Vakola bridge for repairs

Updated: Dec 23, 2019, 07:24 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Traffic towards CST Road in Kurla-Kalina will be closed, while motorists heading towards WEH will be diverted at Vakola and Kherwadi junctions

Construction work at Vakola bridge has begun and traffic diverted. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Construction work at Vakola bridge has begun and traffic diverted. Pics/Bipin Kokate

After multiple trials, and permutation and combinations, Mumbai Traffic police on Sunday finally decided to shut down the dilapidated bridge on Hans Bhugra Marg in Vakola. Traffic towards CST Road in Kurla-Kalina will be closed, while motorists heading towards Western Express Highway (WEH) will be diverted to one lane.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has begun the work on closing the British-era bridge that was declared unsafe for use in 2019. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued a notification in November 2019 to suspend vehicular movement on the bridge but found it difficult to impose the order, despite conducting several trials, owing to lack of alternative routes. Another hurdle in the way was the importance of Hans Bhugra Marg after opening of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), which connects CST Road to WEH.

Construction work at Vakola bridge is underway
Construction work at Vakola bridge is underway

"During trials, we found that movement of vehicles from SCLR towards CST Road is greater than that of vehicles coming from WEH. So, we decided not to disturb the vehicular movement on SCLR, and divert the traffic heading from WEH towards CST Road at Kherwadi and Vakola junctions," said a traffic police officer.

The diversion plan allows motors coming from CST Road to take the Hans Bhugra Marg. The vehicles heading to CST Road need to take a left turn either at Vakola Junction or Kherwadi Junction. Heavy vehicles won't be allowed on Hans Bhugra Marg from Dr. Ambedkar Chowk to WEH.

"We have issued the notification and diversions for the road. After a month-long study and trials, we have planned the diversions to ensure it gives minimum trouble to motorists" said DCP (traffic-suburb) Sandeep Bhajibhakre.

Voices

Umesh Lad NK Brothers Estate Consultant
It is a good decision for the safety of people living in Kalina, but the traffic congestion is going to take a toll on our lives. We will have to start our journey way in advance, but we are prepared for it.

Rana Pratap Singh Property Consultant
I use this road more than ten times a day. the diversion is going to waste a lot of time for me. I will have to travel through BKC road to reach WEH and travel five to six km extra every day. The residents are going to waste a lot of time and money.

Jagjit Singh Putiani Owner of a BPCL Petrol Pump
Though it is a good decision pertaining to public's safety, it's going to create lots of chaos on the CST-Kurla Road where my petrol pump is located. It is going to be a difficult for the staff to manage the vehicles at the petrol pump.

Jeson Mendonca Owner of Eats Cafe in Sunder Nagar, Kalina
This is certainly going to affect my business. It will be tough to deliver food in Mahim and Bandra due to the shutting of Vakola bridge. Reaching Vakola was always a tough task but now with the additional load on this road, it would be difficult for me to give the delivery there.

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