Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s Mumbai visit on Monday caused major traffic problems on the Western Express Highway (WEH) from 2pm to 6pm.
As soon as Singh’s plane touched down at 2.30pm, the road from the international airport in Andheri (East) till Bandra was closed for motorists. Singh headed straight to the Old Haffkine Institute Campus in Parel to lay the foundation stone for Tata Memorial Hospital’s National Hadron Beam Facility and Cancer Centre for Women and Children.
Thereafter, he came back to Vile Parle (East) via the northbound stretch of the WEH to inaugurate the Terminal 2 (T2) complex of the airport at 4.30pm. A large part of this stretch closed for a few hours so the PM could move from Bandra to T2.
It was hapless motorists who had to bear the brunt as it took them more than two hours to get from Malad to Vile Parle. The visit also led to traffic backlog on the south-bound road of the WEH till Malad. It took the traffic police several hours to clear the jam. By 5.30pm the situation was said to have improved with backlog advancing to Andheri. From 4pm to 5.30pm, the northbound traffic was affected with motorists being stuck between Dharavi and Kherwadi.
The traffic police said they alerted motorists about the situation by circulating text messages and making radio announcements, which advised domestic and international flyers to leave their homes earlier if they had planned to take the WEH to reach their destinations.