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The Constant Construction Projects In Mumbai And Their Impact

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With a densely populated metropolitan city like Mumbai, it is hardly any wonder that the connectivity that it requires is no joke. There is a continuous need for better transportation and the comfort of a good commuting system that helps the city run smoothly. However, it does not come without its challenges. The topography of the city, the ongoing increase in immigration, as well as the unique placement of the city, make it very difficult to meet all these conditions all the time.


For a start, the location of Mumbai is, in itself, a big challenge. It is a natural harbour, but it is not constructed in such a way that cyclical transportation is possible. The city is, instead, longer than it is wide. This means that important roads run parallel to each other and connect to smaller cities surrounding Mumbai at various focal points. Its train transportation is also divided into various lines such as the western line, central line, and the harbour line, with certain stations connecting these lines.


Even with these intense challenges, transportation is still somewhat convenient. The current system, although quite complicated to understand at first, is what has worked for it since the very beginning. There is a big problem that the residents have, though, and that is the constant construction that a city like Mumbai requires. With a very unpredictable monsoon season every year, the city suffers a lot of damage due to these rains. Because of this, there is either constant damage control or preempting the damage to come, and so preventative work is being done. There is also a perpetual need to make the connectivity better between the main routes of the city, as well as in smaller residential areas.


The situation of the roads is not improving despite all these preventative efforts, with every monsoon season seeing an increase in traffic, blocked roads, and potholes. The accident statistics have shown significant improvements, with a 35% decrease in road accidents in 2023. However, on a civilian resident level, the complaints about the state of the roads do not seem to have an end in sight. In most areas currently, the sidewalks are being completely remodelled and dug up, with one source saying that the road in front of their house has been under construction for several months.


Besides putting public transportation at a loss, the construction has also made the air quality in the city extremely dangerous. In 2023, the Air Quality Index showed Mumbai’s air quality to be worse than Delhi’s, a landlocked city. There has not been much improvement in this area. Experts attribute this to the dense vehicular traffic on the roads of the city as well as the large number of concrete mix plants present in the city to keep up with the construction demands. The amount of smog in the city has risen considerably. This makes Mumbai one of the most polluted cities in India.


With the vehicular traffic being so inconvenient, the working class of the city relies mostly on public transportation rather than personal vehicles. However, the paradoxical situation of wanting better roads but transportation being affected adversely by that is making commuting extremely difficult in the city. With the pavements being dug up on alternate sides of the road next to Grant Road Station, the buses have to weave through the barricades of an already narrow road. On average, this has affected the punctuality of the buses by ten to fifteen minutes and has added a further fifteen minutes to the commute time. This discrepancy makes it incredibly difficult to calculate the travel time for students as well as workers and office-goers and affects their punctuality.


Even the railways are not immune to being under construction. This is especially true for the central railway line in Mumbai. Last year, the railways announced the construction of a new railway line from Panvel to Karjat. This impacted the central line for quite a long time, with students having no way of travelling to the south of Mumbai because of the trains either getting cancelled completely or being several hours late.


In addition to these smaller-scale projects, there are several big-scale projects going on in and around Mumbai. These include the recently concluded Atal-Setu Bridge, the Coastal Road Project, and the Navi Mumbai Airport project in proximity to Mumbai. The remaining two are projected to cause an alarming increase in fine dust in the air. The traffic around these areas has also been affected quite a bit. Although these projects, such as the metro project that took over Mumbai for so many years, have still not been completely concluded, they aim at improving the overall connectivity but fall short of the prospect of keeping the current connectivity afloat.


Mumbai is a city that is constantly changing; however, this ever-present construction has been constant for a very long time. With its increasing number of citizens, it is becoming more and more difficult to deal with the city’s shortcomings in an effective manner.

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