June 29, 2009

Sealink, to where?

The much-awaited Bandra-Worli Sealink will be "inaugurated" by Sonia Gandhi tomorrow. (Aside: why even do such "inaugurations"? Why not let the bridge be inaugurated by simply throwing it open to traffic? Never mind. End of aside).

Some claims (this one is typical) have it that the Sealink will drastically reduce travel time from the suburbs. Bandra to Worli "now takes 45 minutes to an hour" during the morning rush hours, but with the bridge inaugurated, that journey will take "just seven minutes".

No wonder it's much-awaited.

Me, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that it will reduce travel time nowhere close to as drastically as that, if at all.


Consider the photograph in this report. (That epaper link will soon vanish, and I'm not sure how to grab the photograph before that happens -- please let me know if you do).

Ignore the text of the report, which is another angle to the absurdity of "inaugurations" -- but consider the photograph, especially the part circled in red.

That's where the Sealink joins Worli, near the north end of the Worli seaface. Traffic that comes from Bandra, at the top of the photograph, will come to that red-circled junction and will have to make the ninety-degree right turn there. That turn, and the signal that will certainly be installed there, will inevitably cause a slowdown.

Besides: Not shown in the photograph is the south end of the Worli Seaface, where all this traffic will proceed. Signal there too, and a right turn into a narrow road under the Love Grove flyover. Slowdown there too.

I've been baffled by this red-circled junction since it first started taking shape. Why wasn't it designed with a more gradual merge? How can a right-angle turn onto a road that's already in regular (and relatively heavy) use be anything but a major bottleneck? The way things stand, as of tomorrow the bottleneck for road commuters will have been moved a few km south, is all.

So: no major speedup in your commute to South Bombay. Maybe none. You heard it here. Maybe not first, but you heard it here.

And, you will pay a toll for this.


Incidentally, there are other reasons I believe this bridge will not significantly reduce commute time into South Bombay: of those, another time.


Postscript: I was wrong. Apparently most of the traffic coming off the sealink will not be turning right onto Worli Seaface. According to this report, the traffic police have it all worked out.

If you, a southbound commuter, take the sealink, you will have three options when you come to that red-circled intersection.

For two of them, you turn left and proceed north. At the next junction, either you take a sharp right and follow Pochkhanawala Road (which runs parallel to the Seaface), or you take a left and follow Mahakali Road to the passport office. That feeds you back into the southbound traffic.

The third option is to turn right (for some reason the report calls this a "U-turn") and proceed south along Worli Seaface. For southbound commuters, this seems the most logical thing to do. (Why would you turn north?). Yet according to another report on the same subject on the same page, "this route will be closed from 830 am to 1130 am".

i.e. The most logical and direct route southbound, albeit one involving a sharp right turn, will be closed during the morning rush hour south bound.

Why? Who knows?


Postscript #2: The "U-turn" mentioned above is actually correct. What the traffic police mean is a U-turn at the INS Trata junction, the one north of where the sealink meets Worli Seaface.

Some pix of the Worli end of the Sealink, after being opened to traffic, here. (Thanks).

Some other thoughts on the Sealink, but perhaps better in a separate post.


Boskoe said...

Your points seem reasonable. Let's wait till the actual usage reports come through. Probably the only way to avoid such issues - is to build a road above the current railway lines :-) Straight roads to South Bombay.

Another 'aside' - i read in one of the TOI reports that traffic in trains has shifted towards Bandra / Andheri etc because of more number of offices being setup in these locations. Does this mean that the bridge probably was not reqd in the first place?

Ugich Konitari said...

I have always wondered why they didnt have a Borivli-HajiAli or Borivli-Chowpatty type sea link. makes much more sense. And they could have had off ramps at Worli and Bandra.

But for those that are in power, Mumbai used to end at Dadar, now it simply extends to Bandra . And so you see the mess on the link roads JVLR,MGLR, and the assorted metro rail things.

A solution is to have minister residences in Aarey Colony , Borivli etc.

Anonymous said...

The Deoband have issued a statement condemning the government move to legalise homosexuality.

For once my lot have been keeping quiet on this issue. They seem to have learnt the lesson that silence is gold.

So now it's between UPA and Deoband and I'll enjoy this contest from the sidelines.


Anonymous said...

I did not follow the connection between previous comment and the post.

Dilip, you did not mention one more 90-deg turn in BWSL. Coming from bandra, traffic will have to turn sharp left for the final straight run to join Worli-seaface. (visible in the photograph you link to). One more factor to slow down traffic.

a traveller said...

Take a screenshot using the PrintScreen key on your keyboard, and then paste it in Paint - your entire screen gets saved as an image. You can then crop it as you want. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh...alt + printscreen will be a lot better "a traveller". It will just copy the window you want into the clipboard. A simple PrintScreen might copy all the unwanted junk - just like the govt proposal to deal the the homosexuality situation in the country; burning issue you see...just the measure needed to tackle the impending drought...

Dilip D'Souza said...

Traveller and previous Anonymous: what if I don't have a PrintScreen button, which I don't? I'm typing this on a Macbook. Any tips welcome.

Anonymous said...

Well in that case, Sir, I'm afraid you're a bit of 'an odd man out' like our gay friends. After all we are a Microsoft country. You might have to get help from the UPA. I'm sure they like the 'odd men'

Anonymous said...

The Deoband motion might have just carried. UPA have climbed down on Section 377.

Radhika Misra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

On a MAC, shift-apple-4 will enable you to save whichever part of the screen you want ...

km said...

Dilip: I sometimes use a FireFox extension called "DashBlog". It's a pretty simple tool to capture screenshots, videos, Mp3 and pics, of course.

You can try it for yourself:

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Dilip - sorry I misunderstood your question (I thought you were asking for a "deep link" on HT's site that won't disappear). All you have to do is do "save image as" with your browser (on firefox on most systems, it's right-click on the image and select that option; Macs don't have right-click but I'm sure there's some alternative). If you then put up that image on the web, of course, any copyright violation is your responsibility...

Anonymous said...

Dilip are you surprised?where is planning in this city. Everthing is ad hock and after few years additions are made. flyovers,junctions have additions which creates more problems. JVPD Bus Depot Junction,W E highway and Sahar rd junction near airport,Widening of Flyover and Bridge at Andheri. How many instances you want.We have no sense of planning.We blame increase in vehicals for traffic jams.Its lack of planning which is responsible.--PK

annucool15 said...

just curious to know - to reach the sea link start point, won't it take any time, and wont those lanes leading to the sea link face traffic problems.. wud be glad to know if even tht is taken care of!