August 11, 2015 7:20:00 am
With the Pune-Mumbai Expressway partially closed for maintenance work, State Highway Patrol (SHP) officials are complaining of “utter chaos” due to lack of co-ordination between the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) officers and the IRB.
Two persons were killed and three more were injured after three vehicles were caught in the landslide next to Adoshi tunnel near Khopoli on Pune-Mumbai Highway on July 19. On July 22, another landslide took place near Khandala tunnel, blocking the expressway for over 36 hours. Waking up after the incidents, the MSRDC and the IRB – the company which has the contract of maintenance of the Expressway – had started work to replace the nets that hold the rocks. The government had also announced that a survey of the region would be conducted by the Geological Survey of India.
A senior SHP officer said, “There has been no co-ordination between the MSRDC and the IRB since the beginning.
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There was no clarity on the timings of the work. When they started the work, they were not ready to give us time to communicate it to the commuters. The officers did not pick up our calls to ask for the schedule.”
At present, light motor vehicles have been diverted to the old Pune-Mumbai Highway between Lonavala and Khopoli. Only heavy vehicles are being allowed on the route.
Another staffer from the Khandala division of the SHP said, “It is very important that the police are kept in the loop. Several times, the officers from the MSRDC and the staffers of IRB have not even answered our calls. How are we supposed to know when to divert the traffic and when to allow it? We had even asked them to prepare signage boards and put them up at 40 spots. They have not done that properly and only a few boards have been set up.” Despite repeated attempts, MSRDC’s superintendent engineer and executive engineer did not answer the calls.
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