Month after demolition of old bridge, citizens still wary of Chandni chowk commute

Published on Nov 06, 2022 11:20 PM IST

The service road work near Vedbhavan has been completed but commuters fear the steep slope leading inside Vedbhavan

People walking on Service road near Chandani Chowk towards Katraj. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
People walking on Service road near Chandani Chowk towards Katraj. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

More than a month since the demolition of the old bridge at Chandni Chowk, and citizens are still wary of passing through it as many of the related works undertaken by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are still underway, pending or stuck in various issues. Citizens have to negotiate potholes, damaged roads and construction materials lying around the chowk despite the authorities’ claims of having completed 80% of the work. So much so that Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh recently reviewed the works and instructed that they be speeded up.

For instance, the service road work near Vedbhavan has been completed but commuters fear the steep slope leading inside Vedbhavan. While the service road from Kothrud to Warje to Satara has been completed and opened for public use. Work on the ramp from the National Defence Academy (NDA) towards Mumbai is still underway and is expected to be complete in the next 10 days.

Last week, the Bombay high court gave its nod for land acquisition at Chandni chowk for construction of the road ramp from Mulshi towards Mumbai. The Pune district administration and NHAI officials claim that the acquisition process will be complete in the next one month. The work on the new bridge from Mulshi towards Bavdhan and Pashan will start next month. While the four pillars for this new bridge will come up at the service roads and the new bridge is expected to be complete by next year.

A senior NHAI official on condition of anonymity said, “We are working day and night to complete the pending work of service roads, ramp work and other planned work at the Chandni chowk to smoothen the flow of traffic. The work is a bit delayed but within the next two months, all the service roads and ramp work which is underway will be completed.”

However, Kshitij Manjre, a resident, said, “I travel daily through Chandni chowk but the promises made to ease the traffic congestion are still to see the light of day. Though the old bridge has been demolished and highway lanes have been increased, the service roads and connecting roads are still not complete. There are slopes and potholes all over the chowk and there’s a risk to travellers’ lives.”

On August 27, chief minister Eknath Shinde’s convoy was stuck in traffic at Chandni chowk while he was travelling to Satara. Some of the locals who saw Shinde stuck in traffic approached him and raised the issue of daily logjams on this stretch. They told the CM that nearly two to three hours were spent daily in traffic snarls at Chandni chowk, used by around 6 lakh people - most of them going towards Hinjewadi IT park and Mumbai. Accordingly, the old bridge at the chowk was demolished on October 2, whereas Punekars are still waiting for the full-length bypass highway lanes to get permanent relief from the daily traffic jams.

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Monday, February 06, 2023
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