The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that took up the work in March has claimed that the designated contractor has finished the work at Shilphata and Kongaon patches of the vital 21km stretch.
The MSRDC is working on widening the existing four lanes stretch to six lanes and also concretising it for smooth traffic flow. As per traffic police, on an average around 85,000 vehicles take this stretch on a daily basis.
Shashikant Sontakke, chief engineer of MSRDC, said,” The work order for the widening and concretisation was given to the contractor in March and the work started immediately. In last six months, 25 per cent of the work is completed. This includes Kon village and Shilphata stretches. The work is under progress and the estimated duration for its completion is 24 months.”
The 21-km-long Kalyan-Shilphata route, which connects Kalyan-Dombivli-Bhiwandi-Thane to Navi Mumbai, is a vital link and sees a major congestion during peak hours.
Presently, the work of one lane concretisation of Desai Creek Bridge to Shilphata, which is 2km and the work at Palava junction and Katai bridge are under way. The work of three lanes from Durgadi–Kongaon- Rajnouli chowk is over while the work of fourth lane is being undertaken. A total of 120 labourers are deployed for the work on this stretch.
Poor traffic management
Commuters, though, are glad about the work being undertaken. However, there have been complaints about the ordeal they face due to poor traffic management along the stretch and bad roads.
Himanshu Joshi, 27, who travels from Dombivli to Thane for work daily claimed that it takes around 1.45 hours to reach his workplace, and around 2.15 hours from his office to home, while the actual time to reach workplace is 50 minutes.
“The roads are horrible and there is a humongous traffic on the stretch on a daily basis. I have tried travelling at different time spans like leaving Dombivli at 8.30 am, 9 am or 10 am but the scenario is same all the time,” said Joshi.
He added: “Those portions that are yet to be concretised are not in good condition. There are potholes. There are multiple crossings near the Bhiwandi side of the stretch leading to congestion as there is no control on two-wheelers.”
Several commuters have also taken to social media, slamming the poor management of traffic on this stretch. Commuters taking this stretch have claimed it to be the worst affected stretch in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
“I think it is the worst affected stretch in the MMR as there is no way out from the traffic snarls. Even though the work has begun, there is no clear picture on when will it get over and ease the traffic. There are no signals on this stretch,” said Manoj Kurlekar, 38, who takes the Shilphata stretch to reach his workplace in Navi Mumbai from Kalyan.
The work of Patripool and Durgadi Bridge is also being carried out. In August, the work of laying girders for the Patripool bridge was taken up, while the MSRDC officials claimed that the bridge shall be ready by another month.
Meanwhile, the work of the Durgadi Bridge, which was in full swing before the lockdown, was affected and is now being undertaken at a slow pace. Right now, 50 per cent of the work of Durgadi Bridge is completed.
Thane traffic police claim that they have provided the immediate short-term measures to the authority for ease of traffic congestion.
Amit Kale, deputy commissioner of Thane traffic police, said, “We did a survey with the authority and also gave short-term remedies in writing so that they can be imposed. These include filling the gap between the new concrete portion and the old asphalt portion so that vehicle can move smoothly. The MSRDC has agreed to work on these remedies.”
He added: “I have even asked the MSRDC to fill the potholes across this stretch as the completion of the project will take time. At the same time both my Kolsewadi and Mumbra traffic police units are deployed for the management of traffic on this stretch. Due to them, at least the traffic can move.”