Heavy vehicles banned from plying on roads leading to hill stations; pvt cars can’t use roads after 3 pm
Traffic on the road leading to Bushi Dam. Pic/ Sameer Markande
Pune: Your weekend drive to Lonavla and Khandala is all set to get smoother, but there is a hitch. You will have to wrap up your trip before late afternoon to head back to Mumbai. With tourists flooding the scenic hill stations during the monsoon, the local police, which has had to contend with road accidents and nasty traffic jams, has decided to ban heavy vehicles from plying on these routes on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, private vehicles won't be allowed to ply on the stretch after 3 pm.
On an average, around 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the Lonavla-Khandala stretch on weekends during the monsoon. Spots such as Bhushi dam, Tiger and Lion points, Sahara Amby Valley, Korigad, Pawna dam and Lohagad are tourist magnets, making it difficult for the police to manage the crowds. Incidents of drowning, selfie deaths, road accidents, chaotic traffic and landslides have been keeping the already-overstretched police on their toes.
To check the inflow of traffic into the hill stations, the police have decided to restrict the entry of heavy and private vehicles on weekends and public holidays on two road stretches near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The road near Raiwood corner and the stretch between Valavan to Khandala will be shut for heavy vehicles from 6 am to 12 midnight. Private vehicles cannot use the roads post 3 pm onwards. The restricted entry will only last till the monsoon season, which is the end of September.
Confirming the development, deputy Superintendent of Police (Pune rural) Dnyaneshwar Shivtare, said, "Both the roads are narrow and it's difficult to traverse the stretch late evening due to sticky mud on the wheel. We will be making parking arrangements for vehicles that won't be allowed to ply on these roads."
During the weekend, the police staff strength will also be increased to 300. "Our inspectors assisted by four assistant police inspectors and 10 to 12 policemen, will be patrolling the area. Apart from that, 10 policewomen will be stationed in the vicinity. CCTV cameras will also be installed at these spots," Shivtare added.
He has further appealed to citizens to avoid visiting the tourists spots during the weekend, when there's a forecast of heavy downpour.
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