Mumbai's new freeway opens to the public today: 17 kms, no signals

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Mumbai's new freeway opens to the public today: 17 kms, no signals
Mumbai:  Mumbai's brand new road, the Eastern Freeway, opens to the public today. The road will link Orange Gate near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus with Ghatkopar.

The 17-km long road, which is toll-free and signal-free, will drastically reduce travel time between South Mumbai - India's most important financial district - and the eastern suburbs. A journey from Chembur to South Bombay that usually takes more than an hour will be cut to 20 minutes now.

Krishan Kumar, a commuter who travels everyday from his home in the suburbs to his office in south Mumbai says, "The Freeway will help me save almost half of what I spend on fuel. Apart from that, I will also save a lot of time."

To ensure smooth traffic movement on the freeway, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, containers and trailers will not be allowed. A unique feature of the freeway is a 4.3 km tunnel-flyover.

The Freeway was inaugurated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar along with other ministers and bureaucrats.

There was speculation that the opening was delayed due to unavailability of VIPs from Delhi. Mr Chavan dismissed such reports, saying, "That's not true. In a congested city like Mumbai it's very difficult to build projects like these. Especially when the utility shifting is important. There is no exact mapping of underground utilities and that often causes delays."

"The media has been reporting on delays. See it works. You talk about it and we inaugurate the project the next day," Ajit Pawar said.

With an eye on the state elections in 2014 the Congress-NCP government is pushing big-ticket projects like the Eastern Freeway, Monorail and Metrorail. Projects worth Rs. 5500 crore are expected to be inaugurated by next year. A final decision on the 22-kilometre Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans-Harbour Link may also be taken.


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