Drive easy on WEH: Rs 100 crore facelift soon

Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in a bid to provide smooth and traffic-free travelling experience, will embark on a Rs 100-crore facelift project on Western Express Highway (WEH). The highway is a crucial connectivity between western suburbs and the city.

According to MMRDA, the 25-kilometre stretch from Bandra to Borivali (main road) will get a much-needed upliftment with quality road, proper signages and geometric design that will make traffic flow easy. Smooth entry and exit from the flyovers, optimal use of main carriageway width, merging and diverging of slip roads, grade separators and lane separators for four-lane traffic movement will all get special attention under the new plan. "Our target to smoothen traffic on this stretch can be achieved if the service roads are put to proper use," said an MMRDA official.

The authority has also decided to beautify the central median and footpaths with green walls and flowering landscape. The street lights will also be modified to provide sufficient quality light for commuters in night with stress on safety and comfort. Also, the highway foot-overbridges (FoBs) will be improvised to motivate pedestrians to make use of them. Moreover, the underbellies of the flyovers will be beautified with art paintings and landscaping with facilities of toilets and charging station for electric vehicles. Interestingly, artists will be roped in who can showcase their artwork on the underbelly of the flyovers.

The WEH has a surface area of 11 lakh square metre, of which MMRDA has already awarded tenders for bituminous surface works for 5.8 lakh square metres and the work is under progress. The tenders for remaining 4.5 lakh square metre of road surfacing will be awarded in a week's time. "Certain portions of the road, which are vulnerable to get damaged easily, will be concretised. MMRDA is also examining to cover the nalla at Kherwadi junction and improve the bottleneck and the drainage capacity of the nalla," said the official.

In addition, the structural audit of all FOB’s on WEH has been completed and certain structural repairs, painting works will commence soon informed MMRDA officials. Also anti-crash barriers will be installed on both sides of WEH and footpath on this 25-km stretch.

The authority had earlier appointed global consultants to study the cause of traffic jam on the Western Express Highway and to suggest measures so as to reduce the congestion on the road. Currently, due to bottleneck on junctions and signals, and poor road surface, the commuters are facing a lot of hardship and waste of precious time waiting for signals.

Though there were talks about doing away with signals on WEH, the new facelift plan doesn't speak anything about it.