Mumbai: Clueless officials behind Monday morning WEH snarl

A clueless Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was caught off guard on Monday after a water pipe leak and repair work caused a massive traffic jam that lasted for hours on the arterial Western Express Highway (WEH).  

While the civic body’s control room had no idea about the situation as its departments failed to inform it about the leakage due to a pipeline bust that occurred on Friday near the Hotel Sahara Star junction, the traffic police responded to the situation on X as well as on the ground. They asked the civic body to temporarily fill up an area dug up for the repair work. 

Commuters were stranded for three to four hours between Goregaon and Santacruz due to the traffic congestion with many even missing their flights. However, no one knew the reason behind the snarl. Some speculated that an accident had occurred. 

The pipeline burst had occurred on Friday near the Hotel Sahara Star junction  at Vile Parle

“My relative and I were supposed to go to Bandra for some work. I was waiting for her at the Vile Parle subway. She left her house in Andheri at 11 am and reached Vile Parle, which is 3-4 km away, at 1 pm by auto. She was in the rickshaw for two hours while I was waiting in the scorching heat,” said Rucha Khot. 

Brijesh S said that he had hailed an auto from Gokuldham in Goregaon around 12.10 pm to head towards Bandra. “It took more than two hours to reach Andheri. So, I decided to turn back via the service road. But even that route was blocked and it took more than an hour to reach Malad. I spent R540 and lost three hours,” he said.

Many angry commuters took to social media platforms such as X to vent their frustration. One Devan Dave posted around 12 pm that due to the massive jam, it took two hours for him to cover the 5-7-km distance between Goregaon and Andheri. Another user Payal Kapoor, who missed her flight, wrote, “The unbelievable traffic jam on the highway. Being stuck in traffic for three hours, and missed my flight too. God knows why this traffic jam! (sic)”
While the traffic police replied to innumerable messages on X, the disaster management department of the BMC was utterly clueless. Even ward officials and the hydraulic department failed to inform the disaster management department about the same. When mid-day started inquiring with officials from various departments, the lack of clear communication between them was evident. 

Manish Valanju, assistant commissioner, K East ward, said, “The pipeline burst occurred on Friday near the outward road from the airport towards the south side. The water works team under the hydraulic department tried to repair it on Saturday and Sunday but they didn’t succeed. On Monday, they barricaded the area for repairs, which caused the traffic jam. By afternoon, the dug-up area was filled up temporarily for the movement of traffic and the repair work will start on Monday night,” said Manish Valanju, assistant commissioner of K East ward. 

“The 150-mm-diameter water main was damaged and the repair work will be undertaken on Monday night,” said Purushottam Malavade, chief of the hydraulic department.

Diameter of water pipe

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