The Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), which opened for traffic on Friday after being under construction for more than a decade, proved inadequate to cater to peak-hour traffic Monday morning, with the Kurla-Kalina stretch turning into a major bottleneck.
Traffic police officials said the traffic volume on the stretch was 20 times more than what it used to be before the SCLR was opened.
Authorities, however, said, it was still early days and the traffic would take about a couple of weeks to stabilise on this road.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, said, “There will be teething troubles because certain work on parts of the road have to be completed by other agencies. There were additional problems today as it was the first full working day after the link road was opened, so many people wanted to use it. That combined with the peak hour traffic and the preparations for the political rally at Bandra Kurla Complex must have added to the congestion.”
An MMRDA official requesting anonymity said that when the link road was planned, it was expected to be utilised by about 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles a day.
“The actual traffic now is more than double that figure. We had increased the capacity of the road to accommodate more than the estimated number by deciding to build a 45.7-metre-wide road instead of the earlier plan of a 30-metre-wide road. But this is limited only to the stretch that the MMRDA constructed, while the rest of the road is quite narrow, narrower than 30 metres, in fact,” he said.
The MMRDA had undertaken the construction of a 3.5-km stretch of the link road from after the Amar Mahal junction in Chembur to Kurla’s CST road. However, there are several encumbrances on the remaining three kilometres to the Kalina junction exit to Western Express Highway.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was to widen the road at certain places, while encroachments along the Kurla-Kalina stretch also had to be removed.
BK Upadhyay, joint commissioner of traffic police, said, the department has posted nearly 10 constables on this stretch to control traffic.
“The only bottleneck on the stretch is observed to be the Mohammed Raza Road, which falls on the Kurla-Kalina road. The absence of a traffic signal on the junction of the Santacruz-Chembur link road is the reason for the block. The four lanes of the road converge onto two lanes at the Mohammed Raza Road, due to which there is a huge traffic snarl,” Upadhyay said.
Upadhyay added that the traffic police had been conducting a drive to remove scrap scattered on the road by scrap dealers along the Hans Bhugra Marg. “We have cleared almost 90 per cent of the material causing traffic snarls and that is no longer the problem area,” he said.