Mumbai: India's second longest flyover will be made open to the public in Mumbai on Thursday. Almost 17 kilometre long, it is dubbed as India's longest flyover in an urban area in Mumbai. The much-awaited Eastern Freeway being thrown open Thursday ahead of schedule, after angry citizens tired of braving potholed, congested roads, protested the delay in throwing it open.
Officials were reportedly waiting for a VIP from the Centre but now Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will inaugurate it, bringing relief to thousands of Mumbai's motorists.
The freeway, built at a cost of Rs 850 crore, is 16.8 kilometre long and connects South Mumbai via the PD'mello Road, to Ghatkopar, in one signal-free ride. About 14 kilometre of the freeway will be thrown open for now - nine kilometre from Orange Gate to Wadala and five kilometre from Wadala up to Chembur. The remaining three kilometre, which includes a half-km long twin tunnel will be open by the end of the year.
But Mumbai's mega projects are never free of controversy. The southern end of the Eastern Freeway has been called into question for poor planning. It ends there on the famously neglected PD'mello Road, frequented by trucks, tankers and buses, that use the road for fuel, washing, parking. The fear is the ride may be a breeze, but the end could well turn into a traffic nightmare.
The awkward location of the freeway's end has forced authorities to make knee-jerk modifications that could lead to further problems like sealing off a turn towards Dongri and demolishing a urinal both at the end of the flyover.
The freeway has been criticised for not having enough exits. A vehicle breakdown could bring lane traffic to a standstill, as the freeway does not provide the space for cranes or towing vehicles.
Despite potential glitches though, the freeway comes as a silver lining this monsoon.