Mumbai Dug Up: Slow-paced extension work on Santa Cruz Link Road a worry for locals, danger for motorists

Mumbai is one of the most congested cities in the world. Ongoing development projects, which are meant to ease out commuting in the city have, however, emerged as one of the key factors for increase in traffic congestion in the city. In a weekly series starting today, The Indian Express will identify these ongoing and delayed infrastructure projects that are leading to clogged, narrowed and blocked roads across Mumbai.

Location: Kalina Road

Dug-up for: Extension of Santa Cruz Link Road (SCLR) to connect it with the Western Express Highway.

Importance of project: The extension of SCLR was aimed at decongesting the traffic at the Vakola junction and also help the airport-bound vehicular traffic to reach Bandra Kurla Complex.

Implementing Agency: Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)

Total length of elevated road: 6.8 kilometre

Total revised cost of the project: Rs 839 crore

When did work begin: October 2016

Initial deadline for completion of project: December 2019

When it is expected to be complete: January 2023

Reason cited for delays: Covid-19 induced lockdown and slow work by contractors

Problems caused by the project: Satyendra Yadav, who runs a roadside plant nursery on the Hans Bhugra Road does not remember the time when there was no construction work or digging happening on the road.

While one part of the bridge where vehicles from the Western Express Highway (WEH) can head toward SCLR is almost nearing completion; there is absolutely no clarity on the remaining half of the bridge which will connect vehicles from SCLR to WEH.

The continuous work in progress status has now started testing the patience of the local residents, just like many other Mumbaikars from across different parts of the city.

“Constant construction work, that too on top of the girders, is really dangerous. This road has a heavy flow of vehicles. If something even as small as a stone falls from the top, it can cause severe harm to the passers-by. A few days ago, a biker was hit by a small stone that fell from the top of the girder opposite the Mumbai University’s secondary gate, where a few men were working. A small stone falling on his chest caused the biker to lose control while riding. Thankfully, there was no serious injury,” said Mira Pandit, who volunteers as a traffic warden to help regulate traffic on the stretch during the peak hours.

But apart from traffic congestion, there are issues such as huge piles of debris, equipment lying around, blocking of parts of the road with barricades and blind spots. Sachin Patil, a security guard at the Mumbai University gate said, “There are parts of the road where you can see huge piles of debris, and equipment such as girders, iron rods, JCBs and barricades lying around.”

According to Usha Chauhan, a local resident, “The haphazard barricading has caused blind-spots on the road. These blind spots are used for privacy by couples, by drunkards or druggies. Not only is this scary but also causes security concerns.”

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