Traffic on the Mumbai-Pune expressway and the Mumbai-Goa highway slowed down to a crawl on Saturday as a huge number of people from Mumbai went on a holiday because of the long weekend. Owing to Independence Day falling on Monday, people got a weekend of three days. Many others have taken leave on Tuesday and have taken a break for five days as Wednesday is also a holiday on account of the Parsi New Year.
One container broke down near Khopoli on the expressway and it blocked one lane towards Pune near Arushi tunnel for several hours. The area turned into a bottle neck, leaving only two lanes open for vehicular movement.
Mumbaiites packed their bags and left for different places like Pune, Alibaug, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar and Goa to enjoy the holiday.
Traffic had slowed down to a crawl near the beginning of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway close to Kalamboli and Panvel in Navi Mumbai in the morning. The situation was worse near every toll naka in Raigad district.
“The traffic was extremely slow from morning and we have deployed more number of traffic officers on both the roads. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway usually sees heavy traffic every Saturday morning. Today, the situation is a bit more complicated because of the long weekend ahead,” said a senior officer from Raigad police.
“The problem started around 11am when more vehicles from Mumbai started plying on the expressway. We had to deploy more officials to manage the traffic till 3pm. The situation was normal after that,” he added.
As far as the Mumbai-Goa highway is concerned, the Vadkhal, Pen area saw heavy traffic in the morning. The ongoing road extension work at many other places also created issues for the motorists and it took more than one hour just to travel one kilometre. Suvez Haque, superintendent of police of Raigad district said, “As the traffic management on both the roads became a big issue in the morning, we gave our officials to the state highway traffic department to help them.”
“Mumbai-Pune Expressway usually sees more traffic every Saturday morning as people go to different places to enjoy the weekend. On this Saturday, the situation was a bit complicated as this weekend along with Independence Day and Parsi New Year, became a long one,” another officer said.