With the Rs 428-crore Santacruz-Chembur Link Road having failed to provide the kind of smooth connectivity between the eastern and western suburbs as was envisaged, the city’s development authority is now considering additional construction to remove the bottlenecks.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is considering constructing either a flyover or an underpass on the CST Road and the Vakola bridge, the two chronic impediments that lead to congestion on the 6.45-km Santacruz-Chembur Link Road.
At present, motorists travelling from the east to west have a smooth ride from Chembur using the Amar Mahal flyover followed by the double-decked flyover that the MMRDA has built up to CST road on Kurla, from where the vehicle movement considerably slows down. The 3.5-km double-decked flyover is 45.7-m wide, while the link road for the other three kilometres is less than 30 metres in width.
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The original plan was to clear the CST Road of encroachments and widen the road to the same width as that of the double-decked flyover, besides remodelling the Vakola bridge to expand it along with the construction of the double-decked bridge. However, MMRDA officials say the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which was in charge of the CST Road and Vakolla bridge widening, was unable to see the tasks through. While scrap dealers have encroached lanes on the CST Road, the Vakolla bridge remodelling is stuck as the BMC is awaiting the defence ministry’s nod to acquire a small patch of land for the project.
U P S Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA, said, “The traffic is slow because the road width is currently insufficient. Moreover, there are several vehicles that join the Santacruz Chembur Link Road from the Bandra Kurla Complex turn. There is a lot of through traffic from Dharavi via the Bandra Kurla Complex to Santacruz for which we need a grade separator.”
He, however, added that the plan for the grade separator was not an alternative measure because authorities failed to widen the existing road by removing encroachments as planned. “When we had planned this road, we were not aware of the extent of traffic that would be coming from the Bandra Kurla Complex side so we would have had to construct an underpass or a flyover there anyway,” Madan said.
The Santacruz-Chembur Link Road is known to be as one of the most-delayed infrastructure projects in Mumbai, having taken 11 years to be constructed. The cost of the road had escalated by 270 per cent due to delay, change in the project scope, design changes and massive resettlement of project-affected people.