Even AS the district collectorate has come out with a draft notification making it compulsory for heavy vehicles to travel only on the extreme left lane of the Pune-Mumbai Expressway,and the right lane for overtaking,highway police said that the rule can only be implemented if some basic changes are made in the structure of the highway. The highway police have been demanding the changes since many years.
The highway police had submitted a proposal with a legal framework of the highway to district collectors of Pune and Thane. The Pune-Mumbai Expressway and the Pune-Mumbai highway stretch across the two districts.
Based on the proposal,the Pune district collector issued a draft notification as per different road traffic laws. It says all heavy vehicles will use the left lane and the central lane will be for light vehicles. The right lane will only be used for overtaking. Barring a few kms in the Ghat section,94-km of the Pune-Mumbai Expressway has three lanes.
Dilip Bhujbal,superintendent with the Pune division of the State Highway Police (SHP),said,There is no provision to make the left lane compulsory for heavy vehicles. The rule cannot be implemented unless some basic changes are made in the structure of the highway.
Prashant Mohite,SP with the Thane division of the SHP,said,Amrutanjan bridge is the biggest obstacle. Heavy vehicles have to shift lanes to take a turn as the structure of the turn is weird.
Another officer with the highway police said,The width of the six major curves on the Expressway,three in Pune division and three in Thane division,needs to be increased. We have been pursuing this matter with the MSRDC (Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation) and IRB. Amrutanjan bridge needs major structural changes. It has several sharp curves that needs to be altered. We know that these changes are difficult to make but it has to be done as peoples lives are at stake.
Mohite added,The logical step would be to install CCTV cameras to monitor whose who flout rules. These cameras need to be installed at regular intervals. Bhujbal said,We have also asked for parking bays for heavy vehicles. On the small patches where there are only two lanes on the Expressway,left will be for heavy vehicles and right will be for small vehicles and overtaking. Two wheelers are not allowed on the Expressway.
At present,the notification is only for the Pune district. Officers said notification for Thane was awaited,and communication is on with the district administration.