If you are planning a weekend trip to Lonavla or Khandala by road, your commute is likely to be less harrowing as triple-axle and multi-axle vehicles have been banned from Khalapur Toll plaza to Urse Toll plaza on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for six hours on Fridays and Saturdays and for seven hours on Sundays and Mondays.
The highway traffic police started with a pilot project on the last two weekends under which vehicles with three axles and more were not allowed on the 50km stretch.
“Referred to as ‘Golden Hours’ exercise, the initiative will save six hours of a motorist’s travelling time on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway,” said newly appointed highway traffic additional director general RK Padmanabhan.
According to officials, the heavy vehicles, which will be banned during no-entry time constitute 10 per cent of vehicular traffic. Padmanabhan added, “To facilitate smooth movement for the 90 per cent cars, bikes and buses, the other 10 per cent can reschedule their travel time.”
The highway traffic chief aims at making the Mumbai-Pune Expressway congestion-free with the help of the Golden Hours exercise.
In another initiative, the traffic department has deployed ‘Spotters Squad’ from September 16. They are traffic constables discreetly roaming selected E-way sectors to identify traffic violations. The constables note down registration numbers of vehicles violating rules and send it to officers posted at booths, who stop the erring motorists.
“We greet them with a Namaskar,” Padmanabhan said emphasising the need to be civil with motorists. “The officer tells the motorist about the rules he flouted and if he agrees to the offence, we penalise him and let him go. If he denies, we still let them go with a namaskar, but next time he will not break rules knowing someone is watching him,” said Padmanabhan.
For over-dimensional carriers (ODCs), the vehicles will have to undergo a road fitness test while entering the Expressway. The ODCs take a road fitness test once a year and even if the vehicle is in a poor condition, they will not get it repaired, officials said. To make such defaulters fall in line, the department has started banning the ODCs from the E-way if they fail the fitness test.