Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We finally did the touristy thing and went for a drive on the Banda-Worli Sealink this weekend. The bridge has been a part of my life for so many years - from evaluating financial models in the bidding stage, to living in a house that overlooked the bay where the link was to come up, to seeing the reclaimation activity at the Reclamation - it was almost like coming home.
The drive did not disappoint. Though there was sufficient traffic to deter the speeds that many people boast about, it was still a smooth ride. And with the windows down, and the high tide beneath, it was an experience of the kind the city offers very little of.
But the moment we hit Worli Seaface, the traffic-planner in me kicked in. Even a child could have said the alignment just would not work. The only purpose served by blocking off all possible U-turns is to ensure that cars stay on the road for five times the distance they intented to. Would not a simple clover-leaf junction have taken care of most of the congestion without compromising on aesthetics?
The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the reason the bridge has the beautiful harp shaped structure only at the Bandra end, is because the planners intended that it be balanced by a similar structure reaching up to Nariman Point. Without that bridge, all that the Bandra-Worli Sealink would do is to shift the bottleneck from Mahim Causeway to Annie Besant Road. And I am sure, nobody wants that.