Pune: Massive traffic jams were witnessed on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway from Friday night through Saturday as thousands of vehicles were headed towards various destinations away from Mumbai for the long weekend. Social media platforms like Twitter were buzzing with photos and updates of long queues of vehicles on the E-way.
Many people got stuck in their vehicles on Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Goa and Mumbai-Nashik highways for many hours because of the traffic. The problem worsened as some heavy vehicles were stranded due to slow movement and toll plazas were witnessing huge queues. Many told Sakal Times that queues stretched up to 3 or 4 kilometres at toll plazas on the E-way, while one Twitter user put up a video of stationary vehicles, claiming it to be a ‘traffic jam 20 kms long’.
Ajaya Ghongde, a resident of Borivali in Mumbai, was planning to visit her relatives in Pune on Saturday. Her plan was to travel with her family in their own car. “I started receiving messages on WhatsApp from friends in Mumbai and Pune about the massive traffic congestion on E-way. I have previously had a bad experience travelling on a long weekend when we covered this three-hour distance in eight long hours. I immediately cancelled my weekend plans,” Ghongde said.
The problem continued throughout Saturday. A lane has been shut down due to construction of the Khandala tunnel and it is also affecting the traffic. The Highway Police are trying to keep the traffic smooth and on the fast track. Many heavy vehicles have been diverted to the old highway.
“Two trailers collided on the road towards Mumbai in the wee hours of Saturday. We cleared that within an hour, but traffic coming from Mumbai was heavy, as many families and groups were travelling to tourist destinations over the long weekend. More police personnel have been pressed into service, including staff from IRB and MSRDC. Hopefully, after the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, normalcy will return,” said Amol Tambe, SP (Highway).