Pune Roads get a boost

The Maharashtra state cabinet’s decision to widen the roads connecting Pune with Mumbai, Solapur, Nashik and Ahmednagar hopes to provide the city some relief from the congestion of heavy vehicles.The state cabinet gave its nod for constructing a six-lane road on the Wadgaon-Chakan-Shikrapur stretch and for widening Shikrapur-Nhavra-Choufula and Shirur-Nhavra-Choufula to four lanes. The project is expected to cost Rs 1,220 crore. As part of the project, four flyovers will be built at Kedgaon, Shikrapur, Chakan and Talegaon, while five bridges, 38 small bridges, 16 subways, 34 bus bays and 21-km service road will also be constructed. The state cabinet has also agreed to the construction of a 123-km outer ring road for Pune within the next three years on build-operate-transfer basis. This will help divert the traffic of heavy vehicles from the city. More than 17,000 heavy vehicles, which constitute 30 per cent of the total freight traffic on city roads, enter the city every day, as it does not have regular bypasses like most cities in the country do. These heavy vehicles not only add to traffic congestion within the city limits but also add significantly to pollution, at the same time causing accidents and leading to deterioration of roads.In 1976, the Central Ministry of Roads and Transport and Highways proposed a four-lane Eastern bypass, a 34-km stretch from Katraj to Loni Kalbhor, bypassing the villages of Pisoli, Undri and Handewadi. However, the project is still on papers.In 2004, a comprehensive study of integrated traffic dispersal system for Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad found that traffic flow on internal to external route was 37 per cent while it was 33 per cent in the reverse direction. There was also external-to-external traffic that accounted for 20 per cent. The study also revealed that about 19 per cent of roads in the PMC see speed of less then 20 km per hour while for 36 per cent it was 20-30 km per hour.

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