Doesc­i­tyneed­to­takethe high­road?

Ex­perts call project ‘waste’ as Metro, coastal road will un­clog city; PWD says it’s only an ‘op­tion’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Swap­nil Rawal

MUM­BAI: While the state pub­lic works depart­ment (PWD) has un­der­taken a study to build el­e­vated roads on the Western Ex­press High­way (WEH) and the East­ern Ex­press High­way (EEH), trans­port ex­perts slammed the idea stat­ing that it is a “du­pli­ca­tion” and “waste” of pub­lic money as there are other roads and Metro lines be­ing con­structed to cater to the same pur­pose – de­con­ges­tion of roads.

The PWD, which is in charge of the two ex­press high­ways, has ap­pointed STUP Con­sul­tants Pvt Ltd. to study the fea­si­bil­ity and pre­pare a de­tailed plan for the project. Cur­rently, a traf­fic study is un­der way to as­cer­tain the ex­ist­ing traf­fic pat­tern and es­ti­mate its rise over the next decade. The two pro­posed el­e­vated roads will go over the fly­overs and Metro cor­ri­dors planned on WEH and EEH. Trans­port ex­pert Ashok Datar ques­tioned the need of an al­most par­al­lel road when other agen­cies such as the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) and Ma­ha­rash­tra State Road De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (MSRDC) are con­struct­ing a coastal road and Versova-ban­dra Sea Link (VBSL) re­spec­tively to sup­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing road net­work and take pri­vate ve­hi­cles off the roads. He pointed out that the Mum­bai Met­ro­pol­i­tan Re­gion De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMRDA) is also con­struct­ing a net­work of Metro lines to take the load off sub­ur­ban trains and of­fer bet­ter pub­lic trans­port. Three of the Metro lines will pro­vide north-south rail con­nec­tiv­ity. Call­ing it an “ill-con­ceived” idea, Datar said, “The state should not even waste re­sources for con­sul­tancy on such a plan. Why are they cre­at­ing de­cep­tive room for cars? One can’t cre­ate ex­tra space for a lim­ited stretch of road, it has to be through­out. It is only cre­at­ing good busi­ness for ce­ment and steel com­pa­nies, con­trac­tors and con­sul­tants. The plan should not be pur­sued. There is a need to push pub­lic trans­port.”

How­ever, a se­nior PWD of­fi­cial said the depart­ment is study­ing the “op­tion”. “We have not awarded the project. A sci­en­tific study is un­der­way, af­ter which, we will know if at all such a road will be needed.”

Ex­perts also ques­tioned the lack of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween state agen­cies while chalk­ing out projects. Datar said the Uni­fied Mum­bai Met­ro­pol­i­tan Trans­port Au­thor­ity (UMMTA), which was formed for bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent agen­cies op­er­at­ing trans­port ser­vices, has not met for nearly a year. Datar, a mem­ber of UMMTA, said, “No meet­ing of UMMTA has been con­vened for nearly a year…in ef­fect, it is dead now.”

Mean­while, an­other trans­port ex­pert, AV Shenoy, stressed on the need for a sin­gle plan­ning au­thor­ity for Mum­bai. “There is a need for a cen­tralised trans­port plan­ning au­thor­ity. This is clearly wastage of pub­lic money ow­ing to in­de­pen­dent plan­ning by dif­fer­ent agen­cies without con­sid­er­ing ef­fects of the ac­tions of other agen­cies.”


Ban­dra Princess Street Fly­over


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