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Old 30th January 2012, 18:51   #1
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Default Review of the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway (Mumbai-Pune)

It is more than a decade that Mumbai -Pune Expressway came into existence and we are very much used to it. These days it is again in news for all wrong reasons.

I believe it needs fresh review and audit for many aspects of this expressway. (Moderators please help in the audit)

Accessibility -

When built, it was all fenced and cattle and human beings were not allowed on the road. May be the novelty has worn out and we all are getting used to it. Since last couple of years I am seeing people and stray dogs happily moving on expressway. This obviously means the fencing is broken at places but repaired. This is dangerous situation. Yesterday, I saw a group with their luggauge, after Khopoli exit waiving to vehicles asking for lift.

We are also seeing two wheelers on expressway these days and these people are not from the patrolling group. Many a times they are traveling in wrong direction creating further hazard to the traffic.

Design issues -

We are still not able to resolve Ghat section and other danger spots correctly.

For example - Reversing bridge (Amrutanjan Bridge), Locations with steep accent.

We need additional lanes in steep sections particularly at the beginning of the ghat on Mumbai side, at approach to Amrutanjan bridge and tunnel from Mechanic point side and immediately after Khandala.

Ignorant driving -

Right-most lane is for overtaking only. People merrily use this lane for driving and the faster vehicles then overtake such vehicles from the wrong side.

New fashion is to use hazard lights in the tunnels. Hazard lights are not meant for such situations. It is similar to those trucks who show right side blinker to signal that you may overtake. (What signal he gives when he has to actually want to turn right?)

How to make these drivers follow the rules is big issue.

I am also shocked to see people stopping the vehicles on the sides and enjoying their food seating on the road or side barriers.

Bad Maintenance -

At many locations road surface has worn out creating uneven surface and potholes.

At many locations side barriers are broken and not repaired for many months.

Lights in tunnels, particularly in Ghat section are mostly not working.

Wet surface caution boards are still not covered.

Greenery on the median is vanishing fast.

Over speeding -

This issue is from day one. The expressway is designed for 120 kmph between Kiwale - Lonawala and Khopoli - Panvel section. Almost everyone is moving at speed higher than prescribed limit of 80 kmph. Why not officially make it 120 kmph?

Only for short duration around 2003-04 when the traffic police had working speed guns there was some control. Now it is free for all and some speedsters travel at 180-200 kmph. Actually, it is easy to install cameras on all the over bridges and monitor speed of vehicles. These vehicles can then be stopped at the toll plaza and penalised.

High speed creates the problem particularly in the section between Sinhgad institute turn and Kamshet Tunnel. This section is favorite for speeding as it is almost straight line and with rolling slope towards Kamshet. Many drivers cross 150 kmph in this section. For cars coming from Mumbai the tyres are already hot and high speed in this section heats up the tyres further and eventually leads to bursting. This happens around Devale over bridge and hence the spot is infamous for accidents related to tyres bursting.

I think it is necessary to warn the drivers through boards here or create a food plaza in this section and people will stop there for food and cool their tyres.

High Toll -

In my opinion tolls in Maharashtra are exorbitantly high for the quality of road they offer. IRB must be collecting more than 1.5 crores everyday as toll on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. At this rate the initial cost must be alrady more than recovered and now the government should reduce the toll to only cover the maintenance costs.

I believe IRB is also responsible for maintenance and safety of the users.

Question is - Is the company doing its job to ensure quick repairs and ensure safety? I have already listed some deficiencies above.

I think toll for cars should now be reduced to Rs. 50/- one way from Rs. 165/- (and proportionately for other vehicles) Which is right value for money for the quality and services on Expressway.

Unauthorised accesses -

This is already hot issue. There are unauthorised / ill designed accesses cropping up at places. Also badly designed and located 'U' turns are coming up at places.

Please add and list other issues that I may have missed.
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Old 30th January 2012, 19:16   #2
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Mr Canpush

A timely and worth debating thread. Yes the Expressway was a dream tarmac to drive a few years back not now.

Yes agree, the quality of the tarmac has not been maintained.

Last few months the incidents of accidents has risen to unaceptable figures. This month, Jnuary, a dear friend of ours and his wife died in an accident near the Amrutanjan area.

Do most accidents occur at night?

As far as max speed are concerened my take is drive at 80-110 kmph, no more, no matter what the car and BHP. At this speed most drivers can take avoiding action to avert accidents. Earlier I used to drive my V tec Honda at 140-160. Not now, for the reasons you have stated.

Today I just returned from Mumbai to Pune and thanked the Lord for bringing me safely back.

Recently I read in a Newspaper of the Do's and Dont's when driving on the Expressway. I followed the instructions and had no issues.

You may also consider forwarding your views to the appropriate authority.

Rgds

Last edited by Technocrat : 3rd February 2012 at 01:20. Reason: Please avoid quotinga large post specially if its on same page, thanks
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Old 30th January 2012, 20:14   #3
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Our expressway is better than many of the european roads, but our road manners are very poor. For instance in Europe the first lane is strictly used for overtaking only. In case there are two vehicles on the fast lane and the slower driver is in front, he would dive back to the middle as soon as possible, no honking or flashing of lights is required. The way cars move back and forth on the the fast lane and back is worth watching. It is similar to the way Waves move back and forth on a beach.

But most countries have a very comprehensive set of rules of driving, with written classes, parallel parking training etc so unless the Indian RTOs introduce these here, we will always have unruly driving on our roads. We should not blame the average cab driver or bus driver, 'they simply do not know ' !!!

With Indian roads becoming better and faster, it is high time the police /govt introduce the international standards of driving. It would benefit us all be better citizens.

Last edited by rxpaul : 30th January 2012 at 20:15.
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Old 31st January 2012, 08:32   #4
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Red face Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

This was and is still one of the best expressways built to reduce the travelling time. The Mumbai-Pune Eway has in the recent years gained the tag from the best to the worst. These days its called the Killer highways on similar line of NH17.

The points made by @Canpush are very valid, the traffic rules are not religiously followed, no authorities to oversee the danger spots. Most of the E-way hardly there are any safety signs seen but huge billboards of real estate projects. No ambulances available in case of any accidents, I feel there is also a need for a hospital somewhere immedaitely afterv the Khalapur toll. Regarding the toll reducing it to Rs 50 is unthinkable coz the state govt will never agree to it. The food malls are blatantly overcharging for almost anything. I feel a special team should be installed to oversee the E-way section. A lots is left to be desired.
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Old 31st January 2012, 09:53   #5
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

No Ambulances

When the expressway was started, there used to be an ambulance each parked at both the toll gates, they passed into history several years ago.

Special truck lanes in the ghats

The maximum dislocations to the smooth flow of traffic happens in the final ascent before the Khandala tunnel, a section which is too steep and too narrow. Trucks splay all over the place, hogging all lanes, and that cannot be helped because of their loads and road design. Maybe 2 special lanes can help segregate trucks in that section so that the rest of the traffic can flow smoothly. Currently, because of the trucks, light traffic tends to zig zag around the trucks causing further stress to the truckers for whom even a touch on the brake pedal can mean loss of momentum and possibly becoming a sitting duck unable to move forward hence.

Toll Rates

Being a non-NHAI highway - run by MSRDC - the toll tariffs here are a law unto their own, and there can be no question of levying such high toll rates with such dramatic increase in traffic and recovery of capital.
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Old 31st January 2012, 10:54   #6
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Special truck lanes in the ghats

The maximum dislocations to the smooth flow of traffic happens in the final ascent before the Khandala tunnel, a section which is too steep and too narrow. Trucks splay all over the place, hogging all lanes, and that cannot be helped because of their loads and road design. Maybe 2 special lanes can help segregate trucks in that section so that the rest of the traffic can flow smoothly. Currently, because of the trucks, light traffic tends to zig zag around the trucks causing further stress to the truckers for whom even a touch on the brake pedal can mean loss of momentum and possibly becoming a sitting duck unable to move forward hence.
+1 to that. All the three lanes are occupied by the trucks on the ghats. The truck on the first lane will be going at 10kmph, so the truck coming at 15kmph tries to overtake it and occupies the 2nd lane. Now a third truck going at 20kmph, overtakes them both from the 3rd lane! This has been happening ALL the time. Soon a bottleneck is created, and the cars from behind look for non-existant roads to overtake them.
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Old 31st January 2012, 11:06   #7
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Angry Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

The section where there is a diversion for the light and heavy vehicle is the most dangerous spot as most of the times the heavy vehicles enter the lane meant for the light vehicles. The naming is altogether wrong since the heavy vehicle who are supposed to in the left most lane have to move towards right to pass through the section meant for heavy vehicles and vioce versa for the light vehicles. Many times I have wondered what was the logic behind this wrong markings.

One more dangerous spot which I have observed is the ghat section where there is a complete U turn and there is no sign which says so. This does not warn the drivers who end up changing lanes but still maintaining the speed and thereby cause a huge disturbance for the vehicles in the right most lane.
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Old 31st January 2012, 12:03   #8
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Reading this sorry state of affairs is sad.

Had driven on this expressway in 2005 (December) and multiple times over the next few months when we were in Pune and one of our relatives used to live in Panvel. It used to take 45mins - 1hr from Aundh to Panvel (if i remember it correctly). Used to be a one of a kind highway in that time, absolute dream to drive. If i remember it correctly it was also patrolled frequently for checking over-speeding drivers and accidents.

The only painful point driving on this highway then was not getting to Mumbai but getting to anywhere inside Mumbai after reaching Panvel (Inside Mumbai it used to take maximum time). Apart from this the night time travel on the ghat section would have slow moving trucks occupying all the lanes and cars taking the shoulder to overtake all of them (Which used to be bumpy then).

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 31st January 2012 at 12:04.
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Old 31st January 2012, 12:19   #9
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
The section where there is a diversion for the light and heavy vehicle is the most dangerous spot as most of the times the heavy vehicles enter the lane meant for the light vehicles. The naming is altogether wrong since the heavy vehicle who are supposed to in the left most lane have to move towards right to pass through the section meant for heavy vehicles and vioce versa for the light vehicles. Many times I have wondered what was the logic behind this wrong markings.
That's a valid point. the heavy vehicles end up crossing over from left to right lane at that spot. The right lane is wider and has two lanes in them and helps heavier vehicles to turn easier as the road turns to left as it climbs up after the bridge on top. Ideally, they should have put the two lanes on the left and the single lane on the right so that the trucks take the left lane to go and the smaller vehicles the right lane. It is not wrong markings, but wrong planning of the lanes actually!

And this is another place where the smaller vehicles go crazy climbing all around the heavier vehicles.

So much for the reckless driving of the cars that nowadays I see them overtaking from the shoulder on the ghat sections. They end up creating 4 or even 5 lanes in that stretch zipping in and out.

Wish as HVK stated, the authorities work on dedicated additional lanes for trucks alone on these stretches so that traffic flow is smoothened out.
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Old 31st January 2012, 12:27   #10
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

One of the worst stretches is before the Lonavala/Khandala exit incline coming from Mumbai. Just a km before this exit there is difference of heghts in the opposite lanes with a rift between the two on this twisty road stretch. There used to be small blocks planted earlier but which are coming off. The big problem is that from a distance one cannot easily make out this exact situation and while being in the rightmost lane, there is good chance that you loose control and plunge into this. I have seen quite a few accidents with cars plunged into this lately. There should have been higher concrete barricades painted like just a little ahead of this stretch between the two opposite lanes.
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Old 31st January 2012, 12:49   #11
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Angry Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Regarding a valid point made by OP for the speed limits, I dont think the limit should be raised to 120 kmph on the E-way as it gives the offenders another chance to go beyond that to a dangerous levels. I feel when people cant maintain speed limits of 80 how the hell can they maintain at 120? The strangest part is the absence of any patrol vehicle or any E-way patrol officials trying to use the speed gun or any technology to try to instill discipline among the drivers. Also during the monsoons (an generally) due to the absence of proper lighting inside the tunnels the risk of accidents increase tremendously with some drivers exhibiting a strange behaviour of travelling through the tunnels keeping the hazard lights on.

I remember a high profile case a few years ago when a BMW guy was stopped for overspeeding and the silliest reason given by the owner that the car was brought to be travelled at insane speeds. Totally unacceptable.
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Old 31st January 2012, 13:07   #12
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Default Re: Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway - Review needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
This was and is still one of the best expressways built to reduce the travelling time. The Mumbai-Pune Eway has in the recent years gained the tag from the best to the worst. These days its called the Killer highways on similar line of NH17.

The points made by @Canpush are very valid, the traffic rules are not religiously followed, no authorities to oversee the danger spots. Most of the E-way hardly there are any safety signs seen but huge billboards of real estate projects. No ambulances available in case of any accidents, I feel there is also a need for a hospital somewhere immedaitely afterv the Khalapur toll. Regarding the toll reducing it to Rs 50 is unthinkable coz the state govt will never agree to it. The food malls are blatantly overcharging for almost anything. I feel a special team should be installed to oversee the E-way section. A lots is left to be desired.
Hi, I am not talking about anything other then the food malls on the expressway.
The rates here are very high,and there is no one to check that as most of these food malls belong to local politicians or nearby villagers who are looting the motorists.
Every one who is responsible to keep an eye on these malls are on their PAYROLLS with regular HAFTAS.
The staff and attendents here are very rude,arrogant they even have a Mac donald with same type of staff.
I avoid stopping on the way to pune and back.

Last edited by noopster : 16th February 2012 at 10:08. Reason: Please avoid generalisations and comments others may find offensive. Thanks!
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Old 31st January 2012, 14:36   #13
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Default Re: Review of the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway (Mumbai-Pune)

Agree with all the points mentioned by OP and HVkumar sir. As a regular user of the expressway it pains to see its deterioration as well the blatant disregard of safety measures by fellow motorists.

But i think these things need to be acted upon by the concerned authorities who are very well aware of these points. I think they have the usual excuses for not working on it.

Some time back i had heard that there is a plan to make it a 8 lane road from the existing 6 lanes. Now not sure if that is true.
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Old 31st January 2012, 14:50   #14
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Default Re: Review of the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway (Mumbai-Pune)

The Most shocking thing I discovered was that Bikers are travelling illegally on the Expressway!!
During my recent Pune-Mumbai trip, I saw around 3-4 two wheelers speeding. When I asked the people at the Toll plaza, they told me that 'Sir, they might be locals or highway officials.'

SO!?

As per I recall, two wheeler s are not permitted on the Expressway and that is the way it should stay! Its not only putting the riders lives at risk, but also others who get distracted!

Last edited by DeKay : 31st January 2012 at 14:51. Reason: Typo
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Old 31st January 2012, 16:48   #15
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Default Re: Review of the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway (Mumbai-Pune)

I was coming back from Pune & guess what... I was stuck in a traffic jam inside the tunnel! The cars came to a standstill for a good 20 minutes (luckily).
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