Mumbai/Pune/Nagpur, May 29 (IANS): The Maharashtra Transport Department on Monday cracked the whip on truckers, buses and other heavy vehicles indulging in lane-cutting or obstructing smaller or faster vehicles on the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway and Mumbai-Pune Expressway, officials said.
Teams of highway police personnel are stationed at the entry-exit points on the two prestigious expressways and 10 interceptor vehicles are stationed at strategic locations to identify and catch the culprits breaking the expressway traffic rules, said an official at Panvel.
The move follows an order of Transport Commissioner V. L. Bhimanwar on Sunday warned that truckers, buses and other heavy goods vehicles flouting traffic rules are liable to be blacklisted, with related consequences.
The strict order came amid complaints that smaller, lighter vehicles are unable to ply smoothly on both these expressways as many times the heavier and slower trucks, buses drive on the right (fast) lane creating obstructions and even blocking visibility.
As a result, many smaller cars, jeeps or SUVs are forced to overtake them from the left (wrong) side, or between the two heavy vehicles ahead which leads to avoidable minor or heinous accidents with casualties.
A recent example of this nuisance was the brake-failure of a truck leading to a crash of 11 vehicles on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway on April 27 which left at least six persons injured.
In order to prevent such tragedies, the blacklisting norm will initially be implemented on the 701-kms long Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg and the 95-kms long Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and depending on its results, may be extended to other national and state highways crisscrossing the state.
Earlier this month, the Hindu HridaySamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, Phase I (Nagpur-Shirdi 520-kms) was in the limelight for the spate of accidents recorded there on account of 'no halts'. (IANS report May 4, 2023).
Thereafter, the local authorities had swung into action checking the tyres of all vehicles, the roadworthiness of certain types of vehicles, arrangements for drinking water bottles, and other amenities to those entering the Super Expressway from either end owing to lack of facilities en route.
Last week, Phase II (Shirdi-Igatpuri 80-kms) was opened and the SuperExpressway is now operational for around 600 kms, with another 101 kms (Igatpuri-Mumbai) of Phase III likely to open by the year-end or early-2024.