Toll naka sees traf­fic crawl daily

Au­thor­i­ties blame the hold-up on truck driv­ers, deny that the de­lays are caused by in­ad­e­quate staff

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

VASHI: The Vashi toll naka has for some time now been see­ing reg­u­lar traf­fic snarls, lead­ing to the mo­torists hav­ing a har­row­ing time.

Au­thor­i­ties said hap­haz­ard and il­le­gal park­ing by heavy ve­hi­cles at the oc­troi naka, poor road con­di­tions and lack of traf­fic sig­nal ex­cept at Vashi gaon on Sion Pan­vel high­way and also the hol­i­day crowd are some of the rea­sons for the mas­sive traf­fic hold-up.

There are around 1 lakh to 1.20 lakh ve­hi­cles pass­ing the toll plaza every day from and to­wards Mumbai.

Mo­torists are com­plain­ing that they have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­lays at the toll naka every day.

Ashish Gupta, who trav­els from Kopar Khairane to Mumbai every day, said: “The sit­u­a­tion is bad dur­ing the morn­ing and even­ing peak hours. How­ever, that is not the only time that we face de­lays. The sit­u­a­tion is not good at other times ei­ther.”

Nitin Son­awane, a com­muter from Vashi, said: “The road widen­ing and other in­fras­truc­ture im­prove­ment work at the toll plaza and along the route make lit­tle dif­fer­ence when you lose pre­cious time in the ser­pen­tine queue at the toll plaza.”

He said that the toll plaza au­thor­i­ties should take con­crete steps and in­crease their man­power and in­fras­truc­ture to re­solve the is­sue.

The toll plaza au­thor­i­ties deny that the de­lays are caused by lack of proper ar­range­ments or in­ad­e­quate staff at the toll plaza.

Toll plaza man­ager Vi­jay Bhalerao said, “We have around 325 per­son­nel work­ing in three shifts at the toll plaza with over 100 present in each shift. Hence, there is no ques­tion of in­ad­e­quate staff.”

He added, “We have also in­creased the num­ber of toll col­lec­tion sec­tions from 14 to 18 by in­stalling ad­di­tional booths at a short dis­tance from the orig­i­nal toll col­lec­tion booths to speed up the toll col­lec­tion process.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bhalerao, the trucks and other heavy ve­hi­cles stuck at the oc­troi are the ma­jor cause of traf­fic snarls. “They park their ve­hi­cles on both sides of the road, caus­ing traf­fic jams,” he said.

Some­time they try to evade po­lice ac­tion. “They take a U-turn at the traf­fic sig­nal near the oc­troi and head to­wards

the toll naka through the creek bridge. Just be­fore the toll naka, they again take a U-turn and head to­wards the oc­troi naka.”

Bhalerao also cited the hol­i­day for the in­crease in traf­fic on both sides of the road. “There are a num­ber of peo­ple head­ing out of the city and many who are re­turn­ing,” he said.

Speak­ing of another rea­son for ve­hi­cles pil­ing up at the toll plaza, Bhalerao said, “Fol­low­ing the Sion-Pan­vel high­way ex­pan­sion, mo­torists do not have to halt at any traf­fic sig­nal be­tween Belapur and the toll plaza, ex­cept at Vashi gaon, as they take the fly­overs at the junc­tions. They have a vir­tual free run till the toll plaza and hence we have such a large num­ber of ve­hi­cles gath­er­ing at the toll plaza at once.”

There were sev­eral mo­torists seen ar­gu­ing with the toll plaza em­ploy­ees on Wed­nes­day.

Bhalerao said, “There is no toll ex­emp­tion for pri­vate cars. We have strict in­struc­tions from our se­niors to book cases against those who refuse to pay the toll. There are no govern­ment or­ders to the ef­fect.”

PHO­TOS: BACHCHAN KU­MAR

Bumper-to-bumper traf­fic is a com­mon sight near Vashi toll naka every day.

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