Traffic on both the old highway and the Expressway between Pune and Mumbai came to a complete standstill for more than six hours Friday,after a fuel tanker turned on its side and started leaking near Khandala on the Expressway.
Incidentally,diversion of traffic on both the highways was not possible as the mishap took place very close to the Amrutanjan bridge,approximately 1 km away from the bridge towards Mumbai. Since any vehicle that needs to access either highway,needs to cross this bridge,vehicles were seen stuck in jams as long as 10 km on both sides.
According to State Highway Police (SHP),a Bharat Petroleum fuel tanker,carrying Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG),turned on its side and went off the Expressway,about a kilometre from Amrutanjan Bridge,approximately 70 km from Pune around 8 am.
Police said the tanker started from Uran on Friday morning and was on its way to Shikrapur. As per information provided by the local police,the driver is reported to have told them that the steering wheel of the tanker got jammed and he lost the control of the vehicle. The driver was later detained by local police.
SHP SP PM Mohite said,After we got information,our officers rushed to the spot. We came to know that LPG had started to leak as soon as the vehicle turned and fell on its side. We decided to immediately stop the traffic on the Expressway,as the old highway is not capable of handling traffic on both the roads.
We had the option of allowing the traffic on the Expressway to go through the old highway for a small stretch. But then the traffic would have to go through the Amrutanjan bridge. The bridge had by then been cordoned off.
Shortly after that,fire brigade personnel from the local municipal corporation were sent to the site. Concerned about fuel leaking under high pressure,the gas company officials decided to allow the gas to disperse in the air till the pressure dropped to a safer level before the police,fire brigade personnel or their own officials went close to the vehicle.