The closure of Delisle Road bridge in Lower Parel and demolition of Currey Road bridge led to traffic chaos on major roads on Tuesday. Mumbai’s business district of Lower Parel and neighbouring Currey Road were thrown out of gear as train commuters and motorists struggled due to closure of the two bridges. The action followed an audit by experts who deemed the bridges as unsafe.
Delisle bridge connects NM Joshi Marg to Elphinstone Road and Lower Parel, and was used mostly by Central Railway passengers going from Currey Road station to reach these areas. Currey Road bridge on Mahadev Palav Marg connected Curry Road station with Bharat Mata in Dadar.
A huge crowd thronged the Lower Parel FOB, creating fears of a stampede. Railway commuters who wanted to exit from the east side of the Lower Parel station had no choice but use Datta Ahire Marg, to the west of the bridge.
The narrow lane, already congested due to parked vehicles, was dangerously crowded during morning peak hours as rail commuters struggled to get out.
“I travel towards Kamala Mills daily. But today I was not sure how I would reach, for almost 10-15 minutes the crowd did not move. I think we will have to face this problem until the bridge is repaired and reopened,” said Gloriana Vaz, an advertising agency executive.
Janice Kutty (31), a nurse, said, “The crowd actually gave me goosebumps and reminded me of the Elphinstone bridge tragedy. However, I guess everybody thought the same and behaved. People moved slowly and in a disciplined manner.”
The closure meant that those coming from south Mumbai had to use Senapati Bapat Marg and the stretch below Lalbaug flyover for going towards the suburbs. Those travelling to the High Street Phoenix Mall were forced to take a right from Shingate Chowk towards Bharat Mata Chowk and further head towards the Phoenix Mall via Prabhadevi.
The closure of both the bridges led to a road block and caused motorists to use diversions leading to traffic jams near NM Joshi Marg. Mahadev Palav Marg connects Lalbaug and Parel areas with NM Joshi Marg. With its closure, traffic woes are expected to be compounded, as motorists will have to take diversions via Chinchpokli Bridge and Elphinstone ROB.
“The traffic eased only after 2.30 pm, however, traffic snarls started again post 4 pm. I don’t think this will change for months until the bridges are rebuilt. I think the BMC and railways should have planned this years ago. They shouldn’t have waited until the bridges get dilapidated and corroded. Demolishing and closing down multiple bridges at the same time can only lead to chaos,” Shashank Madhavan, owner of coffee shop in Curry Road, said.
When contacted, Devendra Jain, assistant municipal commissioner (BMC) said, “The bridge could have been risky for motorists and hence had to be closed. Traffic issues will be eased soon.” Ravinder Bhaker, spokesperson of the Western Railway, said, “Special arrangements have been made for regulating movement of passengers on the railway premises and for those using the FOB connected to Delisle ROB at Lower Parel station, especially during the morning peak hours (7 am to 12 pm) and evening peak hours (4 pm to 9 pm).”