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Monday, May 21, 2012

5 bridges already useless in less than 15 yrs


    Five of the city's flyovers have become redundant in less than 15 years even though at the time of construction, planners had promised motorists that the bridges would ease congestion for at least 50 years. With the exception of Byculla flyover, built 35 years ago, the ones at Worli, Sion and Aarey—all constructed around a decade ago—can no longer take the traffic load. In fact, they add to bottlenecks and snarls during peak hours, said experts. Besides unchecked growth of vehicles, experts and engineers say that lack of foresight and planning at the time of construction as well as poor maintenance has resulted in these flyovers restricting traffic flow. 
    The flyover between Worli Naka and Poonam Chambers, which has only two lanes, is closed to south-bound traffic in the morning and north-bound traffic in evening, and is practically useless to motorists. The flyover near Aarey Colony on WEH has six small lanes. But the highway has 10-12-lane and this results in bottlenecks at the exit and entry ramps. The flyover cannot be widened easily because of the narrow width of the road it has been constructed on and the existence of slums alongside. 
    Traffic analyst Sudhir Patil said: "These flyovers have failed not only because they have a smaller number of lanes as compared to other viaducts, but also due to poor planning and maintenance of roads over which they are constructed. There is a need to widen roads and junctions below, and define boundaries of flyover ramps to achieve proper segregation and merger of traffic at both ends." According to Patil, widening roads and flyovers is the only solution. 
    Ajit Shenoy, a social activist and transport expert, said the government should first study traffic patterns. "Improvements should be made in such a 
    that these flyovers can also meet 
future requirements and not just address existing problems. I find it shocking to see how our traffic woes have increased manifold in a decade, to the extent that these flyovers have become irrelevant. There should be more thrust on sustainability." 
    The old Sion flyover on Dr Ambedkar Road has only three lanes, of which two are open to north-bound traffic, and one to south-bound motorists. This, say experts, exacerbates traffic snarls along the northern end of the flyover and is a nightmare for motorists coming from the EEH. Transport expert Trupti Amritwar said Mumbai does not need flyovers as much as east-west connectivity. 
    A senior MSRDC official said that the old Sion flyover will be widened once work on the nearby Santa Cruz-Chembur link road is completed. "As far as Worli flyover is concerned, expansion is not possible, but the road below could be widened to some extent." 
FLYOVERS FAIL TO KEEP THEIR PROMISES


AAREY Operational since | 1998-99 
Route | A small flyover on the Western Express flyover near Aarey Colony at Goregaon 
Cost | 
    15 crore 
Problem | With only 6 small lanes on a 10 to 12-lane highway, there are bottlenecks at both ends. It is possible to widen the flyover if the stretch on which it is constructed is also widened. But for this, nearby slums will have to relocated LANES | 6 LENGTH | 400m



DEONAR Operational since | 2000 
Route | On the t-junction across Sion-Panvel Road and the BAARC Road 
Cost | 
    20 crore 
Problem | It is open to southbound motorists and is beneficial to those travelling from Vashi, Mankhurd and Ghatkopar. Experts say the 500-meter viaduct doesn't serve much of a purpose and is underutilized as neither the flyover nor the junction below sees enough traffic LANES | 3 LENGTH | 500m



WORLI NAKA 
Operational since | 1997-98 
Route | Between Worli Naka and Poonam Chambers on Dr Annie Besant road, crosses the Guffar Khan Road junction Cost | Approximately 12 crore Problem | It is closed to southbound traffic in the morning and north-bound cars in the evening because it has only two lanes. The stretch of Dr Annie Besant Road on which the flyover is built is narrow; there is no room for expansion LANES | 2 LENGTH | 700m



OLD BYCULLA Operational since | 1977 
Route | Near Gloria Church on Dr Ambedkar Road Cost | 5 crore 
Problem | It's open only to south-bound motorists. The flyover has become redundant after the construction of a comparatively longer and wider Lalbaug flyover. It can't accommodate the volume of traffic but can be widened LANES | 2 LENGTH | 400m



OLD SION Operational since | 1998-99 Route | Over Sion T-junction on Dr Ambedkar Road 
Cost | Around 
    20 
    ; constructed by MSRDC 
Problem | Two lanes are kept open for the north-bound traffic while only one lane can be used by motorists heading south. This causes regular bottlenecks and increases traffic snarls along the northern end of the flyover for motorists coming from the Eastern Express Highway (EEH). Experts say that the flyover can be widened as the road below, too, has been recently widened LANES | 3 LENGTH | 800m


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