August 29, 2018 9:06:01 am
Shirur MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil, who is also the chairman of the District Road Safety Committee, tells The Indian Express that tenders for highway widening work, along with construction of flyovers & subways, are likely to be floated by November. These projects are expected to end congestion on Pune-Nashik Highway
There are traffic snarls and jams on the Bhosari to Narayangaon stretch of the Pune-Nashik Highway almost every minute. What are the reasons behind this situation?
It is true that on a distance of 50 km, from Moshi to Narayangaon just before Bhosari, there are regular jams and snarls. The immediate reason is the recent rains, because of which traffic has slowed down. Besides, due to the closure of Malshej ghat, the traffic from Mumbai to Ahmed Nagar was diverted on this route. The stretch had also developed numerous potholes that also affected the movement of traffic.
Isn’t the highway stretch too narrow?
Yes, that is because of massive encroachment on both sides of the highway stretch. There are illegal tapris (kiosks) and all sorts of vendors lining the route and occupying most of the highway. Especially in areas like Chakan, Khed and Manchar, the scenario is worse. The illegal plying and parking of vehicles like six-seaters has only compounded the problem.
Commuters say the traffic police remain mere spectators?
Very true. The traffic police are almost non-existent. In Chakan and Manchar, you will see only one policeman.
Why is that the case?
The traffic police say they have shortage of manpower. Recently, when I took up the issue with Rural SP Sandeep Patil, he promised to provide a dedicated staff of 15 personnel. However, 10 cops have been provided, who work in two shifts, with five policemen in each. This is insufficient. I have demanded that there should be a traffic policeman every km to manage the chaos on the stretch.
Which are the areas where traffic jams are common?
The Khed ghat has become a travellers’ nightmare. Chimble Phata is another area, which is causing headaches for travellers. Chakan, Manchar and Khed city areas are always in the grip of massive jams.
What happened to your plan of constructing flyovers and widening the highway stretch?
In January, tenders for six-laning of the highway stretch, besides construction of flyovers, subways and underpasses, were to be opened. However, the PCMC objected to the alignment, saying they were planning Metro services on the route. The PCMC had said they would submit objections and suggestions by February. However, till date, they have done nothing. Therefore, I will say PCMC is also responsible for the jams on the highway. I have told them that by the month-end, Metro should submit its views to PCMC, which should forward their views to the National Highway Authority of India. I hope by November, tenders for highway widening and construction of flyover will be floated. Once highway is widenend and flyovers constructed, the travelling nightmare on the stretch will ease.
Have you been drawing flak over the traffic nightmare on Pune-Nashik Highway?
Yes, I have been trolled heavily. One political party is behind this. They are trying to gain political advantage. On my part, I am doing my best to fix the problems, but certain things — like the delay in tender process because of PCMC objections — are beyond me.
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