Pune: Puneites heading to Mumbai and Lonavla for the long weekend were caught in a massive traffic jam on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for the second consecutive day on Sunday.
According to the Highway Traffic Police, due to the long weekend, there has been a drastic increase in the number of vehicles on highways, leading to massive jams and a consequent increase in travel hours. The travel time from Mumbai to Pune has increased from three to nine hours due to the traffic.
To ensure the smooth flow of traffic, the Highway Traffic Police have started giving halt signals to vehicles from side-on in the ghat sections, as many large vehicles have broken down because of clutch-plate or engine failures. "Traffic was moving slowly and motorists were constantly in first gear, which resulted in many breakdowns. We had to push many vehicles to the side, while a few others were pushed out of the way with the help of cranes," said Amol Tambe, SP (Highway).
"On Sunday, we decided to halt vehicles for 40 minutes, earlier it was one hour at the ghat section on both sides. We stop vehicles because the vehicles which are already headed towards Mumbai or Pune will be crossing the ghat section and need a clear way," he said.
According to Tambe, Thane and Pune Highway police are trying to keep the traffic flow smooth on highways. According to eyewitnesses and Highway police, traffic moved at a very slow speed from Amrutanjan Bridge till Khopoli exit, with complaints of long queues on both sides of the high speed corridor.
Commuters who reached Pune after a tiring journey blamed poor traffic management and lack of discipline among drivers for the congestion. "Lane discipline was broken and with no effective action from the police. Drivers think they can get away with violations," said Anirudha Goyal, a commuter who was stuck in the traffic for nine hours.
MSRTC buses too affected
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses, which take only three-and-half hours to reach Mumbai, were stuck on the highway and took almost double the time. An MSRTC official said, "All buses are stuck on the highway for more than 9 to 10 hours. Due to this, the buses are not reaching on time. Many passengers have cancelled their trips to Mumbai and buses are running almost empty. During every festival, if there is a long weekend, the buses go full, but the situation is different now."