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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Mumbai-Pune expressway commute to get smoother as 2 drones will handle traffic

The expressway sees major traffic snarls, especially on weekends when a lot of people travel to Lonavala and Khandala

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 16:43 IST
Rahul Mahajani
Rahul Mahajani
Hindustan Times
The expressway has three lanes on each side.
The expressway has three lanes on each side. (File)

Don’t be surprised if you spot a drone while travelling on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

The Maharashtra government has allowed the highway police to get two drone cameras to control traffic along the 94-km stretch.

The expressway sees major traffic snarls, especially on weekends when a lot of people travel to Lonavala and Khandala. Moreover, an accident or landslide during the rains throws the traffic out of gear for 3-4 hours.

The expressway has three lanes on each side.

The long wait
  • July 13: A trailer toppled near Khandala, leaving motorists stuck
  • June 26: A trailer broke down near Lonavala, leading to a pile-up
  • April 14: The three-day weekend led to traffic snarls on the Mumbai-Pune expressway
  • 4,634 accidents witnessed on the stretch between 2010 and 2016
  • 1,323 died in those accidents
  • According to the state highway traffic officials, areas such as Lonavala, Khandala, Urse toll naka, Rasayani, Khopoli, Khalapur, Panvel and ghat sections see maximum accidents
  • The area of Valvan bridge near Lonavala saw two accidents in the past week
  • Ghat area also reports the maximum number of traffic jams for various reasons

The first lane (the one adjacent to the divider) is for overtaking. The second lane is for light vehicles and the third for buses and other heavy vehicles. However, most motorists don’t follow the rules, crashing into vehicles that lead to traffic snarls.

The pile-up pushes traffic even on the old Pune Mumbai highway and adjacent areas of Navi Mumbai.

A senior police officer said drone cameras could improve their response time.

Vijay Patil, superintendent of police, highway safety patrol, confirmed they were in the process of procuring two drones. The police have given specifications for quotations, but the actual purchase will take a while, said sources.

The move comes after a drone camera was tested on the expressway in August 2016 to check traffic violations. Forty-one people were fined for lane-cutting and speeding as part of the drive.

In a report to be submitted to the government soon, the state highway authorities pointed out the loopholes in the drone-monitoring exercise.

They said the camera installed on a device to capture images could not take images during heavy rain, leading to accidents. The report said the drone cameras can produce good results at a height of 30m.

Read: Accidents down, but fatalities up by 28% on Mumbai-Pune Expressway in 2016

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 13:54 IST