Now, PMC to demolish Vishrantwadi Chowk FOB for flyover and grade separator
Vishrantwadi Chowk is a bustling junction where roads from Alandi, Pune Airport and Dhanori converge, necessitating traffic control- and safety- measures
PUNE: Close on the heels of demolitions at Nal Stop and Pune University Bridge, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has announced its intention to raze the foot-overbridge (FOB) at Vishrantwadi Chowk to make way for a proposed flyover and grade separator project in order to reduce traffic congestion by 80%. While the said FOB was constructed back in March 2014 to alleviate the traffic situation, the civic body now claims that the FOB will only come in the way of its plans and that it must be razed. However, the decision has sparked criticism over PMC’s short-sightedness and lack of planning, and what is being perceived as squandering of public funds.
Vishrantwadi Chowk is a bustling junction where roads from Alandi, Pune Airport and Dhanori converge, necessitating traffic control- and safety- measures. The FOB – constructed nearly a decade ago at a cost of ₹6.38 crores – was meant to be just that. Nearly a decade later however, the PMC has opted for a flyover and grade separator as the solution.
Ajay Wayse, executive engineer of the PMC project department, said, “The Vishrantwadi Chowk witnesses traffic flowing in eight directions, creating chaos, particularly during peak hours. Our survey indicates that a combination of grade separators and underpasses at these junctions could reduce traffic congestion by 80%. To facilitate this, we must remove the existing FOB, as it is incompatible with our plans. The Vishrantwadi Chowk in particular, will have a Y-shaped underpass in combination with a flyover from Alandi Road towards Lohegaon and for that, we will have to remove the existing FOB. Without that, we cannot construct the flyover and grade separator.”
However, residents and commuters are unhappy over the decision. Ashish Adsul, a resident of the Vishrantwadi area, criticised the corporation, saying, “PMC is squandering public funds without proper planning. They spent crores on Karve Road and the Pune University flyover, only to demolish them after a few years. The same fate now awaits Vishrantwadi Chowk. It’s a lack of planning and irresponsible behaviour by the PMC administration. They appear to disregard public money and sentiment.”
Nikhil Mijar, traffic planner of the PMC, defended the decision, saying, “We cannot attribute this to a lack of planning. Pune’s rapid expansion necessitates these changes. The Vishrantwadi FOB was designed to address the situation of its time. Given the increasing number of vehicles and the growing population in Vishrantwadi and the surrounding areas, a flyover is needed to reduce traffic problems. In the current context, an FOB is not a viable solution for crossing the junction, as studies have shown that pedestrians prefer at-grade crossings over using FUBs or FOBs.”