The traffic police spent Tuesday morning and afternoon clearing out hundreds of vehicles abandoned on the roads by their owners due to rising water levels on Monday night. As a result, traffic continued to crawl in the suburbs despite a majority of the population staying indoors.“People who were stuck in traffic for hours together simply parked their cars when they reached higher ground and walked home when the water rose,” said a senior officer.
The worst-hit areas were the Western Express Highway (WEH), one of the three arterial roads of the city, and service roads around it. “Drivers decided not to risk being trapped inside their vehicles,” the officer added.
After the state government announced a holiday for schools, colleges and government offices, it meant a massive car towing operation for the authorities.
“Most vehicles were simply abandoned in the middle of the road once they couldn’t move any further. We could not issue challans to the drivers given the situation on Monday. But it took us several hours to clear the roadblocks from the main roads to allow free flow of traffic,” said an officer posted in the western suburbs.
By 2 pm on Tuesday, police also opened the Andheri and Malad subways after water levels dropped, easing the load on the WEH and SV Road, which were gridlocked since Monday evening when office-goers were returning home.
The slight let-up in showers also meant that police and the BMC will undertake another inspection of flooding spots.
“Before the monsoon, we had surveyed these spots and put plans in place to ensure that there will be no water-logging. But as none of those measures worked, we will visit the same spots to detect cause of failure,” said an official.