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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Heavy rains force traffic to a crawl on Pune-Mumbai expressway

The highway police witnessed heavy rush of commuters on the expressway due to the cancellation of trains after heavy rains in the past 48 hours

pune Updated: Jul 31, 2019 15:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Traffic on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Bridge in Deccan after 13,981 cusecs water was released from Khadakwasla dam
Traffic on Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Bridge in Deccan after 13,981 cusecs water was released from Khadakwasla dam(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
         

Heavy downpour on Monday night and Tuesday morning in Pune city and district slowed down vehicular movement on the Pune-Mumbai expressway, bringing it to a crawl near Lonavla.

The vehicular movement from Pune towards Mumbai near Adoshi tunnel, was slow due to the incessant rainfall over the last 24 hours. The traffic congestion started along the ghat (hilly) section of the expressway with reports of waterlogging coming in.

The highway police witnessed heavy rush of commuters on the expressway due to the cancellation of trains after heavy rains in the past 48 hours.

Khandala police said that the ghat section witnessed congestion due to breakdown of some heavy vehicles. Motorists had to slowly wade through the waterlogged areas.

The problem spots were in the Lonavla ghat section, toll plaza and Adoshi tunnel. Milind Mohite, superintendent of police (highways), said, “Yes, there were reports of traffic jam near the toll plaza. Barring that, traffic flow is smooth. Considering heavy downpour in Mumbai and Pune, the state highway police is taking all precautions to smoothen the traffic flow on expressway.”

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Lonavla recorded 295mm rainfall during the last 24 hours. This heavy downpour took its toll on the traffic near Adoshi tunnel on the expressway where a road stretch of 35 metres had sunk in on Monday. As a result, the traffic police closed the lane.

Long queues of vehicles was seen near Amrutanjan bridge on the expressway and measures were being taken to prevent traffic jams, police officials said.

Commuters had expressed their anguish over the slow movement of traffic and demanded that satellite monitoring of the expressway should be started during inclemental weather conditions. The commuters demanded that more efforts should be undertaken as a part of disaster management plan by the highway police, where top priority must be given to decongest the highway during the monsoon and additional highway policemen should be deployed to clear the jams.

Helpline unresponsive, KCB fails to save citizens from pothole problems, again

Despite announcing a helpline number and urging residents to file complaints regarding potholes, the Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) has failed to find a concrete solution to the potholes that have emerged on Aundh to Range Hills road near Khadki railway station, post heavy downpour in the city.

A stretch of 800 metres from Aundh to Range Hills road near Khadki railway station and Tin Rasta chowk is riddled with huge potholes making it difficult to commute. Many residents have alleged that the poor quality of material used during construction is responsible for the potholes. Heavy rains have only escalated the situation.

Monika Beldare, a daily commuter on that stretch, said, “We have registered multiple complaints on the number shared by the civic body, however, no action has been taken. Pathetic conditions of roads is a serious issue and potholes can prove to be fatal. The civic body must fix it immediately.”

Most of the potholes are more than one feet in depth and it has become difficult, specifically for two-wheelers to commute. Sudhakar Thorat, a commuter and resident of Aundh said, “This 800-metre stretch is accident prone. A lot of people have been complaining of back pain due to commuting on this uneven road.”

A stretch of 800 metres from Aundh to Range Hills road near Khadki railway station and Tin Rasta chowk is riddled with huge potholes making it difficult to commute.
A stretch of 800 metres from Aundh to Range Hills road near Khadki railway station and Tin Rasta chowk is riddled with huge potholes making it difficult to commute. ( HT PHOTO )

On the other hand, KCB is putting the blame on Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), saying that the electricity department recently dig up the particular patch for electricity maintenance before the monsoons.

Premprakash Varandani, senior executive engineer, KCB, said, “That particular patch was dug up by the state electricity board and was not rectified properly, hence, the stretch has been facing potholes problems. We have already discussed the issue with our officers and will sort it out soon.”

Raju Salave, a civic activist, alleged that the pothole problem on this particular patch is an annual menace. “We have been commuting on this pothole-riddled road since the part 5-6 years,” Salave said.

Earlier this month, KCB announced a helpline number (8550998767) for residents to call in and file a complaint about potholes in the area.

Residents in grip of darkness for 27 hours

Incessant rains over the past few days left residents of Balewadi and Baner in despair as there was no electricity supply in the area for at least 27 hours. In Undri, there was no power supply for 30 hours.

Residents have complained of negligence by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Maharashtra State Electrical Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). According to the residents, power supply was not restored despite repeated complaints to the authorities.

According to the MSEDCL, power failure is due to blockage/logging of rainwater at Shivneri park gate on Balewadi road. The transformer and feeder piller has been switched off for safety and to avoid accidents due to electric shock, officials said.

The Baba Bhide bridge was submerged with Mutha overflowing on Tuesday. At least 13, 981 cusecs of water was released from the Khadakwasla dam after heavy rains lashed the city for the past 48 hours.
The Baba Bhide bridge was submerged with Mutha overflowing on Tuesday. At least 13, 981 cusecs of water was released from the Khadakwasla dam after heavy rains lashed the city for the past 48 hours. ( Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO )

Sarang Wable, resident of Balewadi, said, “In Baner-Balewadi, there is waterlogging in societies like Shivneri Park, Bravuria and Prakruti Society. The distribution panel that supplies electricity to Shivneri Park is partially submerged in water. Due to this, the MSEDCL has forced power cut in our area. They assured us that the power will be restored within an hour; this was on July 29 at 10:30 am, however, the power has not been restored till now. The society battery backup has been used and there is no water as well now.”

Sandeep Kadam, ward officer, Aundh, said, “There was a problem with the drainage as well as the stormwater line, which was choked. There used to be a nullah which was diverted for development and hence, there is no outlet to release the water. It will be cleared soon.”

Virendra Kelkar, deputy engineer, Aundh ward office, said, “There is no stormwater drainage line at all and this is a low lying area. We have been searching for chambers to release the water. We are finding a way out.”

Similarly, in Kondhwa, the residents have been facing problem of power cuts.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 14:36 IST

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