Traffic slows to a crawl on Pune, Goa highways for long weekend
Traffic was slow-moving on both sides of the e-way; cops deployed more staff.mumbai Updated: Apr 29, 2018 17:55 IST
Traffic on Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Goa highway slowed to a crawl on Saturday, as hoards of people from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune headed out for the long weekend, courtesy the public holidays on April 30 and May 1.
Many offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday because of Buddha Purnima and Maharashtra Day, respectively. The two days, clubbed with Saturday and Sunday, and the summer vacations in schools and colleges have prompted many people to take a break and head to short-break destinations such as Goa, Alibaug, Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar, or their native places in Raigad, Satara and Ratnagiri. Pune residents also added to the traffic congestion, owing to the Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Gahunje stadium and a musical concert at the Balewadi stadium
At the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, traffic congestion started along the ghats section of the Expressway, as well as in some spots near Raigad and Pune, on Saturday.
“Traffic is moving extremely slowly as more and more vehicles are hitting the roads. The stretch near Amrutanjan bridge in Lonavala is among the worst affected,” said an official from the state highway traffic police, requesting anonymity. “There is traffic congestion on both sides of the expressway, both towards Mumbai and Pune. The department has deployed additional manpower to tackle the problem.”
There was a long queue near Amrutanjan bridge and according to police officials, measures were taken to prevent traffic jams but many unskilled drivers made it extremely difficult to control the situation.
Vijay Patil, superintendent of police of state highway traffic, said, “The problem on these roads started at around 7.30am and continued till late evening. The traffic on both sides of the road was much higher than usual, and we had to use extra manpower to tackle it.”
“On the expressway, there was less traffic on the Pune-Mumbai lane. Therefore, we opened that lane five times for vehicles, each time for fifteen minute. Despite the congestion the vehicles did not come to a standstill at any point. Only the movement was extremely slow,” Patil said.
“Quite a few vehicles broke down on the road due to poor maintenance. This aggravated the scenario further. People should check their vehicles properly before playing on such roads,” Patil added.
On the Mumbai-Goa highway, there were severe congestions near Pen, Mangaon, Vadkhal, and Indapur among others. The situation was further complicated by the ongoing work for road widening at several places.
Manoj Kumar Mhatre, police inspector of Raigad traffic said, “At the Goa highway, the situation improved after 7.30pm. There is no divider at this highway, but for the convenience of the motorists, we placed poles and temporary barricades as dividers at various points.”
According to Patil, other important road networks, such as the Nashik Phata road and Pune-Kolhapur, also experienced traffic congestions.
A senior officer from Raigad, requesting anonymity, said, “Mumbai-Pune Expressway sees more traffic every Saturday and Sunday. This time,the situation is more complicated as people have a long weekend ahead.”