Pune: There’s cutting corners to score a chance to save some money, and then there’s being a danger to others. To avoid paying up to use the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, many motorists have broken down the compound wall of an open plot just 5 km from the Talegaon aka Urse toll plaza and are using a dirt road, instead, which winds through a stretch of 8 km before reconnecting with the expressway past the toll naka.
A vehicle turns into the dirt road just 5 km from the Talegaon aka Urse toll plaza on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
The toll ranges from Rs 80-110. The compound wall, barely 3 km from the Kamshet tunnel on the expressway, was broken down some 2 months ago.
When motorists re-join the Expressway later, they pose risk of a collision with a speeding vehicle
Sudhir Aspat, traffic police inspector in charge of the expressway, says it isn’t just motorists who use the dirt road, but also residents of the neighbouring Gahunje, Urse, Ozade and Barud villages.
The point at which the dirt road joins the expressway has become a danger zone. Although no major accident has been reported at the intersection, traffic police fear that speeding vehicles on the expressway could crash into motorists who re-join from this road.
“People who use this road put theirs and others’ lives in danger,” cautions Aspat.
The police are patrolling the entry and exit points of the road to nab such law-breaking motorists. “The dirt road meets the expressway at a descent. Thankfully, so far, some vehicles from both sides have only brushed against each other. More than motorists, villagers, some of them on two-wheelers, are misusing this road,” says Aspat.
Sanjay Gangurde, executive engineer of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which built the expressway, says the authorities plan to close down the dirt road soon.
“IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd (which is in charge of operation, maintenance and toll collection on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway) has been asked to re-build the wall.”