Dehuroad-Katraj bypass still not ready
The construction of the 28-km-long Dehuroad-Katraj bypass, which was to ease the flow of traffic from Mumbai to Bangalore via the periphery of the city is progressing at a snail's pace,with only 15 kms of the stretch completed since the project was undertaken by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in 2004.
The slow pace has not only led to severe bottlenecks, but with the road passing through high-density residential areas, the stretch which is used by heavy vehicles and the city’s motorists has witnessed several fatal accidents in the past.
Referred to as the ‘south entrance gate’ to the city, Katraj Junction is confronted with traffic congestion, overcrowding and accidents, making it a deadly stretch, complained Sachin Gawde, a motorist who frequently passes through the junction. “The continuous flow of traffic has forced vehicles to the Katraj Ghat route at times.
The junction, which was a pleasant place to walk, has also now become a big mess due to encroachment of vendors, parking of vehicles and now PMPML and ST buses. Proper planning at the bypass can solve traffic woes in the area.”
Local corporator Vasant More said, “The total width of bypass is over 20-metres without provisions to control speeding vehicles, which has led to accidents at the junction. The highway authority should resolve the issue in coordination with the city police and PMC. People wanting to visit Katraj Lake have to undergo an ordeal to get here,” said More.
“The traffic chaos has led to overcrowding at roads going towards Kondhwa, Datta Nagar and Santosh Nagar. Moreover, the old octroi posts at the junction have become parking bays for motorists. Traffic police are ignoring this problem,” said Kalpana Thorve, another elected councillor from the area.
The other side
An official from NHAI, on condition of anonymity, said, “Traffic problems and accidents are the issues of local self-government, including PMC and the city police. Our job is to connect the region by constructing highway corridors. Completion of the bypass and the entire 273-kms stretch, which is part of the Mumbai-Bangalore national highway, is facing land acquisition problem from local landowners and gram panchayat authorities. The decision to make it a six-lane highway from the earlier four lanes is also facing problems from the Forest Department, as a 9-km stretch under their jurisdiction is part of the bypass. In addition, tree cutting permission for 990 trees is still a big issue with PMC.