Your travel on the Sion-Panvel highway is set to get smoother, wider and faster in the next three years, as the public works department (PWD) has undertaken a major renovation project to concretise the 6-lane highway and convert it into a 10-lane superhighway.
But in order to be able to enjoy that, commuters will first have to put up with dug-up, debris-laden side streets until monsoon, because four sacrificial tar lanes -- they will be cemented after the work is over -- are being built to allow free flow of traffic on the highway when it is eventually dug up for the main work, that is concretisation. As such, the ongoing work is likely to make those bumpers stay close to each other for now.
Bumpy ride: Commuters will have to endure rough, uneven, debris- laden roads till the monsoon owing to the construction work on the highway. Pic/Sameer Markande
The PWD prepared the blueprint for renovation six months ago. Rajendra Jawanjal, PWD executive engineer, said, "We started construction work for the renovation of the Sion-Panvel highway two days back. Initially, we will build four sacrificial tar lanes to make passage for smooth traffic before we dig the six existing lanes for concretisation. After concretisation, four cement lanes will be built making the highway 10-lane. The construction will take around three years."
The sacrificial lanes are expected to be finished before next monsoon.
"We will open the tar lanes for people before the rains to ensure that traffic does not get affected. After rainy season, we will start concretisation of the existing highway lanes. Also, we have to shift patrol lines, gas lines, gutter lines, cables that are laid alongside the six-lane highway," said Jawanjal.
But the inkling of the momentary congestion has commuters on edge.
Jayesh Padwal, a driver with a private firm, said, "If the authorities dig up the roads and do not provide an alternative route, there will be congestion. We expect measures so commuters do not suffer, especially in the monsoon."
Around 50,000 vehicles ply on the Sion-Panvel highway every day.
The makeover In September 2009, the state's infrastructure committee approved the renovation of the highway from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) junction to Kalamboli. The contract for the work was bagged by a joint venture (JV) of IVRCL and KIPL. The work includes concretisation and construction of flyovers, service road, underpasses, foot overbridges and a toll naka at Kamothe. The BOT project will cost Rs 1,220 crore. "Under the proposed makeover project, flyovers will be built at Uran bypass, Sanpada and Kamothe as there are traffic problems at these spots. Existing one-way flyovers at Taloja and CMLR will be duplicated into two-ways," said Rajesh Jawalkoti, PWD deputy engineer (Turbhe). Also, 17 underpasses, 10 foot overbridges, 2 vehicle underpasses will be built under the proposed project.