Swargate flyover draws opposition

The objections include absence of any basic studies to justify the flyover, PMC’s failure to integrate the flyover with the proposed multimodal terminal, and the civic body not holding any public consultations about the project.
Citizens’ groups, including Parisar, Nagrik Chetna Manch, Pedestrians First, PMP Pravasi Manch, and Save Pune Traffic Movement, have pointed out problems that bus commuters and road users would face during the construction phase.
The civic body, which has finalized the design of the flyover, has assigned the construction work to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation at a cost of Rs 158 crore. Work is expected to begin soon and will take two and half years to complete.
The citizens’ groups, who have submitted a memorandum to municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak, said that the civic body is relying on a 1998 assessment to justify the project. Since then, the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for Pune has been prepared in compliance with the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP).
The memorandum states that as an overall strategy, the mobility plan places emphasis on improvement of public transport, and nonmotorized transport facilities to reduce the growth rate of personal vehicles. “The plan itself warns that making a flyover can only be a temporary solution. The situation would turn worse in the long run by encouraging more traffic. It states that before any flyover is considered as a solution, a technoeconomic feasibility study must be done. The 1998 study cannot be considered valid today as a BRT corridor, BRT terminal, metro rail and monorail part of the high capacity mass transit route and a multi- modal transport terminal have been planned in the Swargate junction area and vicinity after 1998,” the memorandum states.
Sujit Patwardhan on Parisar said Swargate is a critical junction where five, heavy traffic-laden roads meet. “There is considerable bus movement due to three bus terminals for state transport, PMPML and BRT corridor. The area also has very high pedestrian density. Traffic movement will get severely restricted during the construction period. Suitable alternative roads are not available for diverting the traffic. There is no information regarding a feasible traffic diversion plan,” he said.
“Puneites are aware of the traffic situation in Swargate and that it needs to be addressed. However, with the experience of poorly planned flyovers in the city which have been ineffective in solving the traffic problems they were built to solve, many are fearful that the proposed flyover complex at Swargate could turn out to be the same. The failure of the flyover at University junction is common knowledge,” the memorandum said.
In support of the flyover Civic officials say that the recommendations for aflyoverat Swargate have come up in several reports including the Integrated Road Development Plan of 2001 which had proposed two flyovers – one at Swargate and the other near Market Yard. The officials said traffic at the junction has crossed 10,000 pcus (passenger car units) which makes a strong case for constructing a flyover. Other alternatives ike one-ways and a ban on heavy vehicles have already been tried, the officials added.

TOI, Pune Edition, 26 June

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