Civic authorities have begun construction work on the much-awaited twin flyover at Swargate on the Satara side of the road, by beginning to mark spots where pillars will be erected, and testing the soil. However, they have been facing opposition from commuter groups about constructing the planned grade separator on Shankarsheth Road.
These groups feel that if a grade separator is made there will be no pedestrian subway to cross Shankarsheth road. However, civic authorities have refuted that saying they will make a pedestrian subway, with lifts or an escalator, below the grade separator. The two flyovers from Krantisinh Nana Patil Chowk to Jedhe chowk along with the grade separator on Shankarsheth road are being planned to decongest Swargate area. The Pune Municipal Corporation is planning to spend Rs 158 crore on the project. The PMC has given the contract to the MSRDC, who in turn have a sub-contract with NCC Limited.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Vishwas Pandhare said, “NCC officials have started the soil testing work and we are making sure it does not affect traffic flow.” A civic official said, “We are aware of the objections being raised by commuter groups. The option of a pedestrian subway to be constructed below the grade separator is under consideration.”
Convener of the NGO, Pedestrians First, Prashant Inamdar said, “Jedhe Chowk has high pedestrian density. Not building the grade separator will make pedestrian subways for the entire Jedhe Chowk area possible. Pedestrian subways in the entire junction area with entry/exit on both sides of Shankersheth road, Satara road, Saras Baug Road and Shivaji Road, with easy access to an ST stand and bus stops will provide both linear and diagonal connectivity in all directions.”
The side effects
With Ganeshotsav just a month away, Swargate area will be flooded with visitors from other cities like each year. Traffic police fear that if pillar erection work is started this month, it will result in chaos in September. Also, state transport buses leaving Swargate ST stand take a right turn towards Mitramandal Chowk from Krantisinh Nana Patil Chowk, and the PMPML bus stand is located on the left side of Satara Road while approaching the Jedhe chowk. If construction work is started on this side, it will adversely affect the daily operations of ST and PMPML buses.