Planning to take the Mumbai-Nashik highway anytime soon? You will no longer have to pay toll from Sunday. The move is expected to bring relief to lakhs of commuters who travel to Nashik, Kalyan, Shirdi or Pune via this highway regularly.
“We will stop collecting toll at midnight. No more toll will be collected from May 14 onwards,” said Vivek Deosthali, spokesperson of IRB Infrastructure.
Thane has around 18 toll nakas. The Kharegaon toll plaza — the first to come up in Maharashtra — is situated on the Thane-Bhiwandi bypass road. It is the first road project in India to be undertaken on a build-operate-transfer basis. Thousands of vehicles pass the Kharegaon toll naka daily, including heavy vehicles going towards godowns in Bhiwandi or Nasik.
Commuters welcomed the move to stop toll collection. “This is good news for commuters. After the Mankoli flyover opened, congestion at Mankoli naka was eased. However, however the Kharegaon toll naka is still congested during peak hours. Since we no longer have to stop and pay toll, this will save time and fuel,” said Mithun Chavan, 38, a Vartak Nagar resident.
A few said the toll should have been stopped years ago.
Work on the Bhiwandi bypass road was completed in 1997. Toll collection started in 1998. Till December last year, the company earned Rs677 crore in toll fees, recovering the cost of the project — Rs104 crore — and maintenance fees — Rs180crore.
“We have been facing congestion at this toll plaza for years. Even after the cost of the project was recovered, toll was still being collected. However, this move will help commuters save Rs50 daily,” said Nandkumar Sardesai, 41, a Kalwa resident.