The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has started construction of a grade separator at Sai Chowk along the Aundh-Kiwale BRTS route. After Sangvi, this will be the second junction along this BRTS route where a grade separator and flyover will exist together. The separator will make the two routes — towards Hinjewadi IT park and Kiwale — free of traffic signals. The PCMC had sanctioned a budget of Rs 28.15 crore for building new facilities at this junction a month ago. Pimple Saudagar corporator Shatrugna Kate spoke about the construction of the separator. “Over the years, traffic along the Wakad-Bhosari route has increased manifold. Sai Chowk being one of the key junctions on the Aungh-Kiwale route sees heavy traffic, and the upcoming grade separator will ease the flow,” said Kate.
According to Madhu Ranjan, who commutes daily to phase II of Rajeev Gandhi Infotech Park in Hinjewadi, crossing Sai Chowk takes between 20 and 30 minutes during peak hours. “I am glad the authorities are planning to make the junction signal-free. It will definitely cut my travel time by half,” said Ranjan, a resident of Rahatni. The PCMC had not planned to build the grade separator at first. Instead, the plan was to build a flyover for commuters heading to Kiwale. The separator only came into the picture when the PCMC observed that a sizeable number of commuters, most of them heading to Wakad and Hinjewadi, were passing through Sai Chowk. “That is when we planned a grade separator towards Wakad, while the flyover will be built along the Aundh-Kiwale BRST road,” said a civic official.
The PCMC floated the tenders for the separator and flyover last month and has allotted a tentative time frame of two years for completing the projects. Additional traffic wardens have also been deployed in this locality at key junctions along the Wakad-Hinjewadi route that were made operational recently. This move, locals say, has been initiated to control traffic flow as the construction work progresses. The junctions include Shivar Chowk, Kokane Chowk, Govind Chowk and Swaraj Chowk in the area.
“It was becoming difficult for pedestrians and commuters to cross roads, so we decided to make the signals operational. Though drivers still jump signals, we are working towards more creating awareness of traffic rules,” he said.