May 9th, 2013, 02:49 PM
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PMC set to begin work on Phase II of BRTS lanes in the next fortnight. The corridors will cut through extremely busy F C, J M and Aundh roads
With the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), that ran on the outer fringes, nearing completion, officials at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are rolling up their sleeves to take up work on Jangli Maharaj (J M), Fergusson College (F C) and Aundh roads.
In keeping with tradition, the blueprint shows routes cutting right through the middle of these thoroughfares making space for the system’s dedicated lanes. Work is expected to start in a fortnight.
A collective 7-km stretch is to be dug on the three roads, with 2 km lengths each on FC and J M roads, while it will run for 3 km on Aundh Road. While the two parallel running roads will host single one-way lanes with a width of 3.5 metres, the two-way lane on University Road will take up 7 metres.
“The work order has been issued, with an approximate budget of Rs 12 crore. Last month, we did a survey of these three roads and made markings for the proposed BRTS corridor lanes,” informed Vijay Shinde, executive engineer at PMC who is coordinating the BRTS project.
There was some confusion for a while with Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) which plies the BRTS services, earlier insisting on a two-lane corridor on J M Road. However, that issue has been sorted and now a final meeting remains to freeze the work schedule.
PMPML traffic manager Sunil Gavali elaborated, “We had demanded a two-way BRTS lane on J M Road itself, as we thought it would be beneficial for commuters, who hardly take buses from F C Road, so we wanted two-way BRTS corridors on J M Road.”
The J M Road corridor will start at S G Barve Chowk till the end of Garware bridge, while on F C Road, the corridor will start from the same bridge and go to the end of the road where it meets University Road.
The Aundh Road stretch will run between Pune University Chowk and the Rajiv Gandhi Bridge. Given the traffic flow on these roads, there has been some dithering about starting work on them.
A collective 7-km stretch is to be dug
on the three roads “We kept the initial phase to the outskirts where the roads are wider and traffic thinner to enable us to build and showcase good infrastructure,” Shinde explained.
“We are hoping the positive experience of the BRTS in these segments will yield goodwill and make it easy for us to weave through the next phases,” he added.
Clearly there is a lot to fret, given the heavy traffic on these roads, where cutting off even 3.5 metres of 30 metres on J M Road or 24 metres on F C Road, can turn into choke points.
“We will contain our work area to just the 3.5 metres that the lanes are to take up, by moving forward in a phased manner, even for piling the overburden generated by the digging and parking our equipment,” Shinde tried to assure.
He is also hoping to work fast, given the deadline for completing work on all four routes of BRTS by the close of the current calendar year.
The total 68-km BRTS will run between Warje and Kharadi for 22 km, Kothrud depot to Vishrantwadi for 17 km, Dhayari to Hadapsar Gadital taking up another 17 km and Kalewadi Phata to Katraj.
Only, the deadline seems extremely ambitious, given that the first phase of construction of just three patches (Sangamwadi Road, Alandi Road and Nagar Road —collectively 16 km) of the first route will take up to July-end (read 11 months) and the second phase involving another three routes (this time running through heavy traffic) of the same route is yet to begin.
“Now, we will be speeding up our work and start on all four routes simultaneously,” Shinde argued. “We will try to finish as much as possible by the year-end, but if not done, we will have to ask for an extension,” he also added.