Traffic restrictions were imposed on major roads in Shivaji Park and Dadar, with portions of Veer Savarkar Road, Ranade Road, Gokhale Road and Tilak Bridge being closed to traffic on Wednesday in view of Mahaparinirvan Diwas. Vehicles were diverted to Senapati Bapat Marg, N M Joshi Marg and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marg instead.
“Most of the visitors here come from the rural areas and they do not understand traffic rules. It is difficult to control the crowd. To avoid any untoward incident, we restrict them with ropes while the traffic is moving,” said a police constable on Gokhale Road. The construction of Metro 3 on Gokhale Road has also added to the traffic woes this year, said police officers. “The vehicular movement has drastically slowed down here. As it is, there are barricades that are preventing free movement of vehicles and to add to it, there are so many people,” said an officer. Workers from the metro site joined the police to help control the traffic. “Our contractor has asked us to pitch in to help with the traffic situation. There was no need for training as our only job is to follow the directions of the police and hold the ropes,” said Ashok Yadav, a labourer.
The police also prohibited parking on Ranade Road and Gokhale Road, from where a bulk of those heading towards Chaityabhoomi pass. A traffic police officer said no-entry had been imposed on the roads with exits leading to Shivaji Park in order to avoid vehicular congestion. The restrictions, which came into force on Tuesday night, will last until Thursday midnight. Heavy vehicles heading towards south Mumbai were also diverted towards Senapati Bapat Marg at Mahim Junction. Others were asked to take a detour via Dharavi.
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link remained open for those heading towards Worli. North-bound traffic was diverted through Dharavi and Senapati Bapat Marg. Many visitors stopped at vadapav stalls, crowding and blocking the narrow road. “The large crowd definitely inconvenienced the local people and others who come to work here. We will have a hard time returning home. The police are doing everything they can to help but there is only so much that can be done,” said Praful Bhanushali, a grocer who travels from Thane to Dadar.