Rains highlight city’s traffic signal problem

Sunday, 21 July 2019

As the monsoon hit the city after a couple of days on Friday night, the signals once again broke down and brought the traffic to a standstill. 

PUNE: As the monsoon hit the city after a couple of days on Friday night, the signals once again broke down and brought the traffic to a standstill. 

The eight lane Pune-Ahmednagar Road was the worst affected. Following the heavy downpour, stretches on several roads near Don Bosco School, Shastrinagar Chowk, Ramwadi Chowk, Kalyani Nagar area and Viman Nagar experienced huge traffic snarls.

This traffic jam happened due to malfunction of traffic signals and ongoing metro work. It took almost an hour to travel on a 500-metre stretch of road in the evening peak hours.The traffic police were trying their best to clear the traffic but it was in vain. 

The residents complained that long traffic queues stretched from the junction near Hotel Novotel up to Shastri Nagar Chowk and from Golf Course junction and Gunjan Chowk towards Shastri Nagar.

Maruti Shinde, a Kalyani Nagar resident, said, “It took me almost an hour to reach from Shastri Nagar Chowk to reach Hari Nagar opposite Bishop’s School.”
A similar bottleneck occurred at Pune-Satara Road as well due to heavy downpour. 

“It take us normally to cover the stretch in less than 15 minutes, but I was stuck in the traffic for more than hour,” said Ankita Parakh, a resident of Mukund Nagar.

Pune may be in race to become a smart city, but it’s traffic signals system seems outdated.  The contractor looking after the maintenance work of total 242 signals in the city is getting this job done with the help of two teams of just eight people. The team of eight people including two engineers, four workers and two traffic policemen are responsible for maintaining the traffic signals. However, during heavy downpour, at least 20 to 25 signals become defunct. 

According to traffic branch officials, the maintenance of signals is done by the PMC. About 80 per cent of the signals have their own control systems, which are affected by rain water, which leads to closure of signals.

Speaking on this issue, Srinivas Kandul, PMC Superintending Engineer said, “To maintain signals, we have awarded contract of Rs 1 crore to the contractor who has formed two teams each consisting of an engineer, two workers and a traffic policeman.”

No Synchronisation
The traffic police and PMC officials said that few months ago, signals on University Road, Senapati Bapat Road and Pune-Satara Road were synchronised. However, due to rains, the signals are not working properly, hence, synchronisation has been stopped.

Signals in city

  • Signals: 242
  • Signals under maintenance during monsoon: 20-25
  • Signals shut every day: 10-12
  • Cost incurred for maintenance: 1 crore
  • Workers for maintenance: 8

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