The Western Railway (WR) has now set March as the new deadline for the elevated autorickshaw deck in Andheri to be functional. While almost all the construction work on the project is done, the approach pathway, which autorickshaws need to take to get on the deck, needs to be cleared of shops, and this, officials said, has become a bottleneck.
Speaking to dna, Sharat Chandrayan said WR had been communicating with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) since November 2013 to clear the approach road of shops. “It is an important project which will give relief to commuters and, hopefully, we should be able to make it functional by March this year,” said Chandrayan.
Railway officials said the success or failure of the project will have a bearing on the construction of such vehicle decks on top of other stations. “We have just tried to mitigate the traffic bottleneck on the eastern side of Andheri station by creating a junction on top of our station using railway airspace. We really hope other agencies, like the BMC, will play their part and ensure the project gets completed,” said an official.
The pathway, which autorickshaws will use to enter the lane leading to the deck from the congested Swami Nityanand road running along Andheri station’s eastern fringe, is too narrow, thanks to the shops lined up on either side. Sources said the shop owners are not too keen to shift anywhere else as the pathway has a steady stream of people, leading to good sales.
The project has seen its fair share of troubles, the latest being autorickshaw unions saying the elevated lane leading to the deck has sharp curves which autorickshaws might find tough to negotiate.
The auto deck is important as the eastern part of the station will see a huge rise in traffic, once the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro starts operations.
However, officials are unable to explain why they started work on the deck when a fundamental problem like the narrow shop-encroached pathway was not cleared.
Making it smooth for commuters
A brainchild of the WR’s construction department, the project is that of a 100-metre-long elevated autorickshaw ramp, wherein autorickaws will enter from Swami Nityanand Road, move on to a two-lane elevated deck — 60-metre-long and 34-metre-wide with footpaths on either sides — built between the middle and north foot overbridges. From there, the autorickshaws will pick up commuters and then travel down a similar five-metre ramp, leading to a road beside the newly constructed railway police building near the metro station, onward to MV Road, and then to the Andheri-Kurla Road. Started in 2011, the project was to be completed by December 2013.