Everyone knows how hellish traffic in Mumbai can be, a journey that would normally last you twenty minutes without traffic could end up taking about two hours with traffic! The Western Express Highway is one such road famous for long car journeys and bumper to bumper traffic, to top that off the Government is now constructing rails for the Metro lines that’ll run over the highway. This has further amplified the already bad enough traffic conditions. To deal with the nightmarish traffic during evening peak hours, Mumbai’s traffic police has decided to ban all commercial vehicles from Kalanagar to Dahisar between 5 pm and 9 pm.
Currently, it takes around two and a half hours to travel the stretch. The notification was issued on Monday and the ban will be implemented from today onwards on the stretch from Kalanagar to Dahisar. Though this ban is on an experimental basis for the next 15 days, the situation will then be reviewed after which a decision to implement it on the road from Dahisar to Kalanagar will be taken. The traffic department hopes that the ban will reduce the travel time from two-and-a-half to two hours, this may not seem like a lot but it’s one of the first steps to help reduce the chaotic commotion that is Mumbai traffic.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said, “There is acute congestion on the WEH (Western Express Highway) especially for which we have been experimenting with various measures for decongestion. These light commercial vehicles also cause friction in the traffic movement because of their slow manoeuvering as they carry the load. We will review the situation and if the results show a positive impact, then the ban will also be implemented on the south-bound arm during the morning peak hours.”
The ban will include all light commercial vehicles including mini trucks, mini tempos, commercial autos carrying goods and other such vehicles. According to the traffic police, these vehicles constitute about 15 percent of the vehicles on the highway and about 800 to 1,000 of them use the Western Express Highway every hour. The ban on the light commercial vehicles comes a year after heavy vehicles were banned on Western Express Highway, the traffic police have also identified eight major bottlenecks on the WEH, which they are trying to ease out. One of them is the Dahisar Toll Naka, traffic police have asked the authorities to relieve toll when there is heavy congestion, which is something that doesn’t usually happen but it would be impressive if they saw it through.
The ongoing Metro construction leads to another bottleneck at the Times of India bridge in Malad, while encroachments, including garages at Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road junction, are being demolished. The traffic police are also implementing a strict no-parking rule on the entire Western Express Highway, which is about time if you ask us, while timings at traffic signals have also been fine-tuned to give priority to rush hour traffic.