Pune: Though the Central government approved two new tunnel and flyovers/overpass at the Khambatki Ghat section, officials said that the project is going on at a snail’s pace due to slow land acquisition process.
The tunnel was built to smoothen traffic flow but the ‘S’ turn after the tunnel has become a deadly zone for accidents.
Highway Police SP Amol Tambe said that it’s a ‘black spot’ which has claimed several lives. “It was reported to NHAI several times. The ‘S’ turn has design fault, it should be straight. We are told that a new tunnel is proposed there,” Tambe told Sakal Times.
NHAI Project Director Suhas Chitnis said, “We have taken all safety measures like putting up crash barriers, rumbler strips and safety signboards. The truck was carrying over 30 persons with construction materials and traveling at high speed. People should also control speed.”
Khambatki Ghat is located in Pune’s Satara section of National Highway (NH)-4 from Km 772.5 to Km 781 in Khandala taluka of Satara district. This section forms part of the six laning of Pune-Satara section of NH-4 from Km 725 to Km 865.35 (length-140.350 km).
“The existing two-lane road is passing through a two-lane tunnel (Satara to Pune) constructed during four-laning of Pune-Satara section in 1999 and the two-lane road (Pune to Satara) is passing through the ghat portion. The two-lane tunnel is going to become a bottleneck in the long run as the traffic volumes increases. New six-lane tunnel is proposed. The approval came in 2015,” states the Detailed Project Report of the new tunnel.
Satara District Collector Shweta Singhal said, “On Monday, I asked officials to call a meeting this week for expediting the highway work and other safety measures. Several issues related to the project will be sorted out in the meeting.”
Trauma centre needed
† The accident on Tuesday once again brought the focus on the need for a trauma centre near Khambatki Ghat which has seen hundreds of accidents. A trauma centre was to be built at the Khandala rural hospital but even after five years of its approval, it is yet to be started.
FIR against Reliance, NHAI
† Four years back, Khandala police registered an FIR against National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Reliance company, after accident of a semi-luxury bus. But investigation has not moved forward.
† April 3, 2014 6 killed, 39 injured
† January 13, 2014 9 killed, 5 injured
† November 16, 2014 8 killed