Ever since road-widening work began on the Sion–Panvel Highway over a year ago, motorists have been having a tough time navigating the stretch.
Motorists travelling from Pune and Goa commute easily and within the expected time on the Mumbai Pune Expressway, but as soon as they enter Navi Mumbai, they get caught up in traffic. Owing to the number of diversions along the road, the traffic accumulating at the beginning of the Sion-Panvel stretch during peak hours in the evening and morning delay motorists by nearly 30-40 minutes.
“The Sion-Panvel highway would cover a distance of 25 km, from Panvel to Chembur. When the construction work is completed, the number of lanes will be increased from from six to 10. Due to this expansion, the lane time consumed by a commuter will reduce from an hour to 25 minutes,” claimed Ramesh Agawane, executive engineer, PWD. He added, “Traffic was a problem a few months ago but now traffic problems occur very rarely due to the diversions and construction work. Four lanes are ready and are open for commuters to use.”
Motorists, however, beg to differ. “Traffic is always the problem here. Just few days ago, I was travelling to my office in Vashi from Panvel at around 6 pm. It took me an hour to reach Belapur from Hiranandani flyover. After this I was too exhausted to continue with my pending work,” said Nerul resident Pravin Thakur. Ravi Srivastav, Kharghar resident, said, “The traffic here is a serious problem. Five times this month, I took almost an hour to get to Kharghar from my workplace in Vashi.”
If the authorities are to be believed, this road expansion project will be completed by May 2014. The two major flyovers – Uran flyover and Taloja flyover will be completed by May 2015. “The commuters will be able to use all flyovers except for Uran flyover and Taloja flyover since their deadline is May 2015,” explained an official who did not wish to be named. This lane expansion project costs Rs 1,220 crore.