TRAFFIC CHAOS – Uneasy travel on Kharadi bypass

Residents Attribute Congestion To Malls, Heavy Vehicles And Ill-Conceived Flyover
Two prominent malls located on either side of KharadiMundhwa bypass have turned the stretch into a commuters’ nightmare.Besides serving commuters from Hadapsar and other fringe areas, the busy bypass is the only link between Pune-Ahmednagar and Pune-Solapur highways. Also, IT professionals heading to their workplaces in Magarpatta and surrounding areas add to the traffic chaos here every day.

The situation spirals out of control especially on weekends when thousands of shoppers flock to Seasons and Amanora malls here for entertainment and household supplies.

“Traffic to and from these malls creates traffic snarls. There is an autorickshaw stand too outside one of the malls that adds to the traffic burden here,“ they alleged while also attributing congestion on the bypass to the faulty flyover at Noble hospital. “The road between the hospital and Mundhwa bridge is narrow with no scope for widening. If a person has to drive out from Magarpatta city to reach Mundhwa or Hadapsar, he will have to drive 2km extra to reach Amanora mall and take a U-turn from there,“ Balasaheb Khopade, a resident of Magarpatta city , said.

If the flyover from the hospital was extended to Magarpatta, it will not just save time but also reduce congestion on the bypass. “ A new flyover coming up in Mundhwa will create more congestion on the bypass,“ Khopade said, adding that rush in malls and multiplexes on weekends has made driving difficult on the stretch.

Two spots, Mundhwa Junction and Keshavnagar Chowk, are most congested, those staying in the area said.

Nilesh Magar, director of the Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company Limited, said the bypass has become all the more congested since heavy vehicles continue to ply here despite a ban that came into force in 2014. “Heavy vehicles are banned here during peak hours, but the rule has not been implemented in letter and spirit. If the ban is strictly enforced, congestion will come down by 70%,“ he added.

Magar said congestion can reduce if an underpass is constructed for vehicles. “If a flyover or a grade separator is built between Mundhwa and Chandannagar, traffic snarls will reduce at Magarpatta and Keshavnagar Chowk. A pedestrian subway near Amanora mall will help too,“ he suggested.

There is no congestion at Seasons Mall because vehicles enter the establishment from the rear side. “We are not completely dependent on civic amenities. Some of the best companies from across the globe are conducting their business here and the onus lies on civic authorities to improve the infrastructure. The congestion will come down to half if public transport system is improved,“ Magar added.

A resident Abhay Kale said, “There are two malls on either side of the bypass. Heavy vehicles often break down here, adding to the choas. If autorickshaw stand outside Amanora Mall is shifted and the road is widened, it will provide some respite to the resi dents and commuters on the road.“

There is no congestion between Kharadi Chowk and Mundhwa bridge. Problem lies at Mahatma Chowk because one road is linked to Keshavnagar and Manjari while the other one is linked to Ghorpadi, Kalyaninagar and Koregaon Park. “IT professionals in Magarpatta and Kharadi pass via this chowk, creating huge congestion during peak hours,“ another resident S C Kodre said.

He said construction work of flyover from Mundhwa bridge starting from Mutha river and Kharadi is not picking up pace. “If the roads passing Mahatma Phule Chowk is widened, there will be some respite. Traffic can be streamlined at Phule Chowk if flyover is constructed between Keshavnagar and Mundhwa. Also, a flyover between Noble hospital and Kharadi Chowk will of great help since the bypass links Pune-Solapur and Ahmednagar highways,“ Kodre said.

PMC corporator Chetan Tupe said as per the development plan, the width of the road here should have been 80ft against the present 54ft with two lanes. If one more lane is started, congestion will be eased. Also, presence of police should be increased here to check on those flouting ban on heavy vehicles.

“Heavy vehicles proceeding to Mumbai should be diverted via Mantarwadi bypass and Pune-Satara highway while vehicles heading to Nasik and Ahmednagar should be diverted via Theur and Wagholi. The move will reduce congestion in the city and Kharadi bypass,“ Tupe suggested.

Sunil Tarte, vice-president of Amanora, said, “We have changed timings of schools located on our premises while developing a 1.5km stretch pipeline road to connect motorists to Sadesatranali and Hadapsar. Some stretch of the road still remains incomplete because it belongs to a builder. We have taken up the issue with the builder and PMC and the work will be completed at the earliest. We have sent a letter to PMC to widen road outside mall by 12ft. Around 50,000 people visit Amanora Mall on weekends. We have appointed wardens and installed solar signal outside the mall. We have also started bus services for our customers while deploying 175 ex-servicemen for maintaining security and traffic flow here.“

Sarang Awad, former DCP (Traffic), said, “We had installed signals at main gates of Magarpatta city and Amanora. We got the gate of Magarpatta widened.A side road from Magarpatta to Seasons Mall was converted into one way . Now the widening of Magarpatta Road has started. We had imposed restriction on plying of heavy vehicles from 8am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm. We had closed the right turn from Keshavnagar to Mundhwa leading to Koregaon Park and the passport office in Mundhwa. We had installed dividers and signal outside Radiation hotel.“

Source : TOI