Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eastern Freeway 22-km-corridor at a glance-MUMBAI

South Bombay to Chembur in 16 minutes

MUMBAI: Nine sets of entry-exit ramps on the upcoming Eastern Freeway, whose first phase is likely to be inaugurated in May, will enable a signal-free 17-km drive between Orange Gate on PD'Mello Road and the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road.

It will help a large number of daily commuters between south Mumbai and the distant northern and eastern suburbs. MMRDA engineers said some vehicles from even the western suburbs might use the freeway via the existing Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link road (JVLR) and the Sion-Dharavi road. The Santa Cruz-Chembur Link road is expected to be completed by the year-end and the futuristic Eastern Express Highway-BKC connector may also help traffic from the western suburbs access the freeway smoothly.

By May, a 14-km stretch of the freeway between Orange Gate up to Panjarpol near RK Studios in Chembur will be opened for traffic, the remaining 3km from Panjarpol to Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road will be thrown open by July. However, experts warn of slow traffic towards Orange Gate as vehicles will initially have to be monitored and routed properly. Over 25,000 vehicles are expected to take the freeway daily, which will heavily decongest Dr Ambedkar road and PD'Mello road. Joint metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide however denied the possibility of congestion at Orange Gate, adding traffic arrangements would be made accordingly.

South Mumbai traffic from Colaba, Nariman Point, Malabar Hills, Mumbai Central, Fort, Crawford, Tardeo, Masjid, Kalbadevi, Girgaum and Byculla will be able to access the freeway from the Orange Gate ramps on PD'Mello road via Sardar Patel road, Carnac bridge road, Yusuf Ali or Meher Ali roads. Vehicles from Lalbaug, Parel, Jacob Circle, Chinchpokli and Currey Road will be able to use Reay Road ramps of the freeway via Dockyard and Victoria roads.

Traffic to and from Kings Circle, Matunga, Dadar, Sion, Wadala, Five Gardens and areas beyond like Prabhadevi and Worli can take the ramps at Sewri-Wadala-Chembur road towards Barkat Ali junction. Vehicles travelling from the Sewri Nursing home area towards Rafi Ahmed Kidwai road (or PD'Mello road) and Chaar Rasta and vice versa can also use these ramps.

Traffic from Sion, Dharavi, Chunabhatti, Kurla, Suman Nagar, parts of Wadala, Bandra (including vehicles travelling from the Western Express Highway to the Eastern Express Highway to go to Navi Mumbai or south Mumbai) can take the ramps at Bhakti park, Wadala. Four ramps on and before RC Marg are mainly for traffic from within Chembur, RCF, Kurla, or even for traffic from EEH towards RC Marg and Port road or Mahul road. People beyond RCF railway tracks and inside areas such as Mysore Colony, RCF etc can also use them.

A pair of ramps at Shivaji Chowk, Panjarpol, near RK Studios in Chembur is for vehicles from Navi Mumbai, Goa, Pune, as well as from Thane, while the ramps at Govandi will provide freeway access to traffic from Chembur, Deonar and Mankhurd. The Ghatkopar-Mankhurd link road ramp will mainly be used by traffic from the EEH.

MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar said for the first few days, vehicles were likely to take the freeway only out of curiosity. He said consultants and traffic authorities will initially monitor crucial areas to suggest changes and ensure the flow of traffic.