Neglect of North Mumbai transport infrastructure

13th July 2014

I experienced a new route to travel to Pune and realised how as a city we are cheating ourselves of a good quality of life by denying essential transport infrastructure which should have been developed decades ago but is nowhere in sight as of today.

A friend from Mulund was going the same way and going by his car and suggested I meet him at Nahur Bridge which joins the Airoli Bridge and is a straight route from there to the Pune Express Way. I stay in Oshiwara MHADA, Andheri (W) and with the new Metro in place coming to the Central line is no longer a foreboding thought. I took a bus from close home to the nearest Metro Stop at Azad Nagar, got on the Metro, got down at Ghatkopar and took the Central line train to Nahur and then walked to the highway.

No travel trip goes waste for me, always exposing me to sights and sufferings, which I would otherwise not have seen (those who are regular on these routes go through this everyday) and in this case the misery of people coming from Nahur Station to the Eastern Express Highway was experienced first hand by me. But this blog is not about the suffering of those people right now. The kind of suffering people are going on Nahur Bridge and onward to Airoli is to be seen to be believed. The Mayor and other politicians and IAS officers who sit in the cozy comforts in the head office and travel to work and home in air-conditioned red beacon cars would never identify with the suffering at many such places in the city.

During the return trip I was not as eager to do all these three interchanges back but the only alternative was the road route back in a cab and that would have been a time killer. It occurred to me that the Goregaon Mulund Link Road (GMLR) should be the exact transport link which would make it so much easier for me to reach Nahur Bridge and back from Andheri (W) area.

The map below shows the two route options

Andheri - West to Nahur route options
Andheri – West to Nahur route options

Red is the existing route which I took and break up is as below

Oshiwara MHADA to Azad Nagar – Bus or autorickshaw –    3.75 kms
Azad Nagar to Ghatkopar – Metro –                                             9.25 kms
Ghatkopar to Nahur Station – By Train –                                    9.25 kms
Nahur Station to Nahur Bridge – Walk                                       300 meters through bad footpath, water logging and exposure to rain.

The total trip is 22.5 kms and takes a little over an hour.

Green route which is what can be provided

There is a portion of the route passing through the green forested section which would be a tunnel connecting Mulund on the eastern side and Goregaon on the eastern side.

The door to door route length is about 16.5 kms of which the tunnel component is 5.5 kms.

Buses can run between Seven Bungalows Depot or Oshiwara Depot in the Andheri – Goregaon region and ply till Airoli bus depot and never go empty. This route would free up unnecessary load on the railways or the metro or even on some of the roads.

The tunnel is the only component which needs to be developed and all of the other 11 kms of roads required are in place. There is absolutely no problem with encroachments on the Mulund side though Goregaon side might be tricky with a lot of formal development by prime developers like Rahejas and Mantri having come up just where the tunnel entry/exit should be. Not insurmountable and would never have been a problem had this tunnel been built even as late as ten years back. This is how infrastructure takes a back seat even as developers shape the city land use and people come to stay and work and for decades go through struggle wasting precious time.

Providing the green route would make a difference to millions of lives and greatly relieve the burden on other transport systems.

A recent news report mentions GMLR requiring a 9.2 kms of road with need for reclamation, road on stilts etc. and that may not have a tunnel option which would not be the best option I think. I still need to study any report from BMC




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