The Vashi creek bridge, which connects Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, was partially closed on Saturday morning for repair and maintenance work. Traffic on the Panvel-Mumbai section of the bridge will be diverted for the next 15 to 20 days.
There was no major traffic snarl on the usually busy bridge till Saturday afternoon as it’s weekend.
Work had been scheduled to start earlier, on January 24, but it was postponed to February 1 as preparations for the work was not complete. That too was rescheduled and repairs were finally set to begin on February 4, but it has started a day earlier.
Satish Gaikwad, senior police inspector, Vashi traffic police, said: “Usually, around one lakh vehicles use each side of the creek bridge. It was decided that work would start today [Saturday], as there is a lower volume of traffic on the weekend.”
Gaikwad said that so far there have been no traffic issues. “We have put diversions in place. We are confident that traffic will move smoothly in the days ahead as we have enough time on this weekend to set things right,” he added.
“As the repair work will be carried out on the lane on which traffic heads from Panvel towards Mumbai, all vehicles using this lane are being diverted and will use the Sion-Panvel lanes to go to Mumbai,” explained Nitin Pawar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic). “So all vehicles going from Mumbai to Vashi and Panvel will be diverted to the old bridge.”
However, as the old bridge is not in a very good condition, heavy vehicles will not be allowed on this bridge, Pawar said. “Only four-wheelers, light vehicles and emergency passenger bus services will be allowed.”
What’s the alternative route for heavy vehicles going from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai? “Heavy vehicles will not be allowed entry on the old bridge, so they will have to use the Eastern Express Highway and get on to the Airoli bridge and then take Divagaon circle at Airoli. From there, the route will be Patni company area, Mukund Chowk, Thane-Belapur road, Rabale, Mahape and Turbhe and ahead.”
“We appeal to all motorists to cooperate and ensure there are no traffic issues during this period,” Pawar said.