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Seamless movement at MTHL may be jeopardized due traffic dispersal challenge at interchanges | Mumbai News

Even as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), which is nearing completion, is likely to be open for public soon, questions are being raised over its efficacy in the absence of adequate traffic dispersal roads to ensure smooth traffic flow from the bridge.

The 21.8-kilometre six-lane access controlled bridge from Sewri in Mumbai to Chirle in Navi Mumbai has three interchanges. One interchange is at Sewri in South Mumbai, connecting MTHL to Eastern Freeway (Mumbai Side), second at Shivaji Nagar in Ulwe connecting MTHL to Navi Mumbai Coastal Road Project and the third at Chirle interchange — where one arm will connect the State Highway-54 and the second arm will connect NH4 Mumbai Pune Highway.

The ancillary infrastructure that needs to be in place at the end of these connectors, however, is absent yet, raising concern over the efficacy of the main purpose of the bridge of speeding up traffic flow by avoiding bottlenecks.

For instance, while the Shivaji Nagar connector at Ulwe is supposed to have six ramps, only two would initially open, catering solely to smaller vehicles, as per MMRDA sources. Due to absense of the Navi Mumbai Coastal Road, the Shivaji Nagar Ulwe interchange will only facilitate traffic movement from Mumbai to and fro and not from Chirle.

“The aim was for all six ramps to link up with the coastal road, but at present, there’s just one available road for the Ulwe Uran node. Permitting heavy vehicles from the MTHL Ulwe interchange would lead to severe congestion, impacting both the interchange and the sealink,” said the source.

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To avert this congestion, it was proposed that the Navi Mumbai Coastal Road be constructed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). The six-lane road would connect Aamra Marg after the Panvel Creek Bridge with MTHL at Shivaji Nagar Ulwe allowing for smooth dispersal of traffic. Work on this stretch has, however, not picked up, raising questions on whether it could create traffic hindrance at Ulwe side once the MTHL is thrown open.

The Sewri-Worli connector that was planned to facilitate movement from MTHL to the western suburbs is also expected to be completed only by 2025. The connector is mainly planned to ease out 15-20% of MTHL traffic from Sewri interchange. There are total eight ramps at Sewri interchnage two to be attached with the connector once it is ready. While remaining six ramps to be connected to Eastern Freeway and Messant road in Sewri, which will be opened to traffic when MTHL is opened first.

Work on the actual MTHL deck, however, is going on in full flow with overall 96% of project work done till date. MMRDA officials said that civil work will be completed on the entire stretch before December 25. However, ancillary systems that need to be put in place will take time and the bridge will be open for public only by early next year.

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