Mumbai: Vakola trials plunge traffic into chaos

Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 07:41 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Cops conduct 5-hr road closure exercise to find alternatives for the dilapidated Vakola bridge

Hans Bhugra Marg that was closed to traffic on Wednesday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Hans Bhugra Marg that was closed to traffic on Wednesday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

As all the MLAs housed at the Grand Hyatt in Santacruz were shifted out by the Maha Vikas Aghadi, Mumbai Traffic Police resumed its trial to find an alternative route to Hans Bhugra Marg that has a dilapidated bridge over it. The cops conducted their longest trial run so far on Wednesday from noon to 5 pm, creating huge traffic jams on the CSMT Road.

The distance that usually takes 25 to 30 minutes, took motorists more than an hour on Wednesday. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) declared the bridge on Hans Bhugra Marg (connecting Western Express Highway with CSMT Road) dilapidated in March 2019 and stopped vehicular movement on it from November 23. The traffic department has, however, realised that the road cannot be closed

unless there is a viable diversion option. Accordingly, trials began last week but were paused on Friday owing to heavy VIP movement across Western Express Highway and the subsequent stay of close to 200 MLAs in the Grand Hyatt on Hans Bhugra Marg. As soon as MLAs were shifted out, the traffic trials resumed. "During the trial, entry of vehicles from Kalina university towards Hans Bhugra Marg was restricted and traffic was diverted towards Kalina Military Camp-Nehru Road.

However, traffic movement was continued from WEH on Hans Bhugra Marg towards Kalina University," said a traffic officer, adding, that the arrangement "failed miserably as traffic piled up from Kalina University up to Halav Bridge (a 2-km stretch)." If continued, the arrangement will end up blocking the entire Vakola region for motorists. "We have conducted five trials so far with Wednesday's being the longest," another officer said.

Police on toes too
"We are working on some recommendations suggested by the traffic division which mainly includes changing signal timings at Kalina University, Vakola Bridge and Raza junction," said a senior police officer, adding that deploying heavy force on the roads to divert vehicles effectively towards BKC from Raza junction to avoid additional burden on CSMT Road towards Kalina University and Military Camp road was another option. "We have put up signboards on the road to inform motorists of the possible blocks on the road," the officer said.

Military camp road a hurdle
The inflow of traffic on military camp road after closing Hans Bhugra Marg will increase manifold with the diversion but the narrow road makes it difficult to maintain traffic. Also, on Nehru Road, one lane of the 40-feet wide road has been blocked by parked vehicles and hawkers. The footpath — also blocked by vendors — forces pedestrians to walk on the road too, the police informed.

Nov 23
The day the road was to be closed for bridge repairs

March '19
Month the bridge on Hans Bhugra Marg was declared dilapidated

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