The Mumbai-Goa highway is witnessing a surge in traffic with the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi set to begin on Thursday. Inspector Suresh Varade, Raigad traffic in-charge, said the number of vehicles plying the route per hour towards Konkan had risen from 250 to 1,000.

Mr. Varade said, “There is bumper-to-bumper traffic at night as it is the preferred time to travel. During the day, 600 vehicles travel on the road every hour. At night, around 1,000 vehicles pass through the Mumbai-Goa highway per hour.” The heavy traffic flow, which began on Monday, is expected to reduce after Thursday.

Traffic police have been stationed for bandobast at Kharpada, Pen, Wadkhal, Mangaon, Poladpur, Kolad, Pali, Mahad and Lonere on Mumbai-Goa highway. Mr. Varade said, “There are no traffic hold-ups, but traffic is moving very slowly.”

The Home Ministry held a meeting with the Public Works Department, traffic police and RTO officials to avoid congestion on Mumbai-Goa highway. It was decided to give free toll passes to commuters who took alternate routes.

Nandakishore Naik, deputy regional transport officer, Thane, said, “The alternate routes are long and tolls for using them one way cost Rs. 700.” The Thane RTO has issued around 1,050 free toll passes since Saturday. Commuters can use the alternate routes via Mumbai-Pune Expressway to head towards Sawantwadi, Khopoli, Pune, Mahad, Mahabalewhwar, Chiplun, Kolhapur, Malvan and Vengurla.

Vijay Patil, Superintendent of Police, State Highway Police, said, “We have been encouraging people to travel along the expressway as it sees less traffic. Across highways, we have 60 officers stationed at 88 points doing bandobast along with the local and traffic police.”

To meet the rush, the Maharashtra State Regional Transport Corporation from September 8 to 12 had introduced 1,125 services from its Mumbai bus depots, 878 from Thane and 222 from Palghar. The services will also be started from Konkan to Mumbai from Monday.

Abhijit Bhosale, MSRTC public relations officer, said, “All the buses were fully reserved and most of them operated even at night. Special services were provided to people heading towards various places in Konkan,”

The authorities also deployed 12 ambulances at various points on Mumbai-Goa highway. Fourteen cranes were arranged by the highway police to clear the road if vehicles had a breakdown.

At night, there is bumper-to-bumper traffic as it is the time preferred by passengers to travel

Suresh Varade

Raigad traffic in-charge

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