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Drive carefully, 15 people died in 87 accidents on Mumbai’s Sion-Panvel highway from Jan to June

Mumbai’s Sion-Panvel highway has defunct streetlights, potholes and errant motorists

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2017 00:07 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai commute,Sion-Panvel highway,Mumbai city news
An official said pothole-filling work was progressing slowly owing to the incessant rains.(HT File Photo)

With 87 accidents in the first six months of the year, the Sion-Panvel highway has become one of Navi Mumbai’s most dangerous roads.

As many as 15 were killed and 49 injured between January and June.The number of accidents rose sharply after monsoon started, said police.

Serpentine traffic snarls are common on this road near the Vashi toll naka, Belapur, Kharghar and Kalamboli. Traffic officials attribute these issues to potholes that have surfaced on the stretch.

The highway’s streetlights have been defunct at several places for the past few months. Several subways constructed for the convenience of commuters are now filled with rainwater.

Statistics show that more accidents took place on the stretch last year, compared to this year. Between January and June last year, 151 accidents took place on the highway, said traffic police. However, around half of them — 73 — were minor and no one was hurt.

The highway has been in bad shape for the third year in a row, since it was widened by Sion Panvel Tollways Pvt Ltd (SPTPL), which bagged the contract from the public works department. However, after light vehicles were exempted from paying toll, SPTPL officials refused to maintain the stretch, saying the PWD had not paid it.

PWD officials started repairing potholes only after Navi Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale and joint police commissioner Prashant Burder asked them to take measures to reduce the number of accidents on the stretch.

“Most of the potholes near the Vashi toll naka have been filled. The road is comparatively better there. We are now working on other parts of the stretch. However, work is progressing slowly owing to incessant rains over the past few days,” said a PWD official.

Traffic officials said managing the highway’s traffic has become a challenge.

“Whenever there are snarls, we ask officials not to collect toll so traffic can move quickly. Sometimes, they refuse and even argue with us. They argued with us on Monday, despite the traffic jam being severe. We registered a non-cognisable offence against them at the Vashi police station,” said Satish Gaikward, senior police inspector, Vashi traffic unit.

An officer, who did not wish to be identified, said several motorists did not follow traffic norms, adding to traffic woes. “Violations such as rash driving, drink driving, driving helmetless are common on the highway. We conduct various drives to reduce such illegal activities. More officials have been deployed near the toll nakas and other important junctions. But, unless motorists cooperate with us, accidents will not cease,” he said.

Highway to hell

July 17: Biker Satish Pujari, 23, was run over by an unidentified vehicle on the Sion-Panvel highway when he was heading from Panvel towards Vashi

July 3: A driver was killed in a three-vehicle pile-up near the Uran Phata bridge near Nerul

June 23: An Innova car on its way from Panvel to Mumbai was hit by a tempo near DY Patil stadium. The rear side of the vehicle was completely damaged. No one was injured

June 17: An auto-driver died and another person was injured after they were hit by a tempo near Kharghar railway station

June 14: A 23-year-old man from Chembur died after his bike was hit by truck near Sanpada

May 1: An 18-year-old student from Kamothe, Rahul Gangurde, died after his bike collided with a car. Gangurde, a resident of sector 34, was on his way to Juinagar from Kalamboli. He hit a car ahead of him and succumbed to severe head injuries

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 00:04 IST