July 2, 2009 2:33:15 am
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link opened to chaos on Wednesday morning,with bumper-to-bumper traffic not only on the swanky new bridge but also at the Worli end,the jams running through Haji Ali and Babulnath.
The contractors and the government had promised the link would reduce travel time from Bandra to Worli from 40 minutes to seven. Traffic studies had estimated that motorists would save about 30 minutes and the delays of 23 signals they face along Mahim Causeway. But the drive took nearly as long as it does on the usual route.
It took me almost 35 minutes from Bandra to Worli at 8.15 am today. Of 5.6 km,3.5 km were a jam because the exit road at Worli is a big bottleneck, said Arif Malik,a public relations executive.
Piyush Mehta,who drove from Andheri,said,At many points,I saw drivers take U-turns which added to the jams. The dividers are wide apart,with enough space to allow some drivers to U-turn and inconvenience others.
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Traffic policemen hoped Wednesdays jams only reflected the excitement over the novelty,and that the number of motorists would reduce after the toll-free period.
The initial days are bound to be hectic as there is no toll being levied on vehicles for five days and there is a sense of excitement amongst motorists who want to try something new. We are hopeful that within a few days the volume of traffic would reduce, said DCP (Traffic) Shahaji Solunkhe. Of the frequent U-turns,he said,It is true that some took advantage of the widely spaced dividers. We have urged the MSRDC for a kind of divider blocks that would discourage U-turns.
Though private two-wheelers are not allowed,four constables on two bikes and jeeps equipped with speed guns will patrol the sea link to check traffic violations,ACP Amarjeet Singh said.
Not everyone complained. Rakhi Nagpal of Prabhadevi found the drive pleasant despite the jams. The Bandra end was jammed but it was a smooth ride from Worli. Its a beautiful bridge and should make Mumbaikars proud, she said.
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