With Independence Day falling on a Saturday, both Mumbaikars and Puneites had set off on a weekend to Lonavala. On a normal day, it would’ve been the perfect getaway. But after Friday’s landslide at Adoshi Tunnel on Mumbai Pune Expressway, it was one long wait for weekend revellers.
A crowd of cars and people at Bhushi dam. A team of 20 cops usually mans this area
The landslide resulted in a 24-hour traffic jam that continues to be in the process of being cleared. Two commuters driving to Pune were injured when a boulder tumbled down on the Mumbai-bound lane at 7.30 am. The police barricaded a one kilometre area near the tunnel on both sides of the Expressway.
An officer from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Expressway control room, said, “The victims suffered minor injuries. One entire lane heading to Mumbai has been shut down and repair work is being carried out on war footing.”
The monsoons and the August 15 public holiday contributed to a rise in number of tourists, several of them stopping along various points on the Expressway to enjoy mini waterfalls. “Around 30 mm to 150 mm of rainfall was recorded in Lonavala and Khandala in the last 24 hours.
We have received around 1,000 calls from commuters stuck on the Expressway since noon, inquiring about the traffic jams,” said the office on Saturday evening. Inspector IS Patil, in-charge of Lonavala city police station, said, “Around 11 am, the highway police had to divert the traffic to the old Mumbai Pune highway, which lead to congestion in Lonavala City.
Around five lakh vehicles have crossed the Mumbai-Pune Expressway since Friday night and most tourists were visiting Lonavala. We have requested families to stay back in Lonavala until the roads are cleared.” He added that after 2 pm on Saturday, the line of parked cars was stretching up to eight kilometers.
“A team of 20 policemen handled the crowds at Bhushi dam. Some tourists entered the water from Raywood corner area. Revellers were ignoring caution signs.” Not everyone was celebrating, though. Ganu Shinde, 23, a resident of Kasba Peth in Pune, missed his uncle’s funeral in Thane due to the delay. “The funeral was at 1 pm. In spite of leaving early, we reached only at 4 pm.”