The 13km Eastern Freeway, which connects south Mumbai to eastern suburbs, could prove to be the fastest alternate route to evacuate railway commuters when the Central Railway (CR) services come to a standstill due to incessant rains and floods which may be encountered at any given point of time during this monsoon season, say transport experts.
Of the 75 lakh daily suburban commuters, 40 lakh travel on the CR, while the others on the WR. Whenever suburban railway services come to a standstill, lakhs of passengers get stranded in south Mumbai. In such a situation, BEST plies additional buses, but they get stuck in traffic at arterial roads such as the Dr Ambedkar Road. According to railway officials, the freeway will ease the pressure on arterial roads connecting suburbs to south Mumbai and will prove to be useful in evacuating stranded passengers in case of an emergency.
AV Shenoy, transport expert, said, “For railway passengers from Chembur and beyond, the freeway will provide great relief.”
Of the 13.59km freeway, 9.29km stretch is elevated and the rest is at ground level. Transport activist Jagdeep Desai said that as the major stretch of the freeway is elevated, it could help in case of flooding.
“Eastern freeway goes parallel to the harbour line. Passengers from Chembur and Navi Mumbai could take the route,” said a senior railway official.