Mumbai-Goa Highway: Motorists Stuck In Traffic For Over 15 Hours Due To Government’s Negligence

The government and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have been fined by the Bombay High Court (HC) for the same.

Mumbai-Goa Highway: Motorists Stuck In Traffic For Over 15 Hours Due To Government’s Negligence

The National Highway(NH) 66 which connects Mumbai and Goa, is filled with potholes causing huge traffic jams and travel delays. The path regularly witnesses traffic clogs, especially during festivals and has been under construction for over a decade now.

The government has come under fire from citizens and activists for its subpar work and lack of political drive. Moreover, the government and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have been fined by the Bombay High Court (HC) for the same.

The government promised to improve the situation before Ganesh Chaturthi, but the condition of the road got worse causing discomfort to travelers. In 2011, it was announced that this highway would decrease travel time and travelers would breeze between Mumbai & Goa within six hours. But, the ground situation draws a completely different picture. The path has been under construction for years and is full of traffic and potholes causing discomfort to people.

Massive traffic jams caused ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Saturday night, September 16, forced thousands of passengers headed for the Konkan to spend nearly 15 hours on the road. On Saturday night, a commuter left Thane at 11 pm and reached Wadkhal around 2 am. Commuters traveling via state transport bus alleged that the Kashedi Tunnel was still under construction. Also, the ones traveling via non-AC vehicles alleged that they were feeling suffocated as there was no proper ventilation.

Commuters accused the government of making false promises. The government had pledged that a concrete road from Palaspe to Indapur would be constructed before Ganeshotsav. The Wadkhal traffic jam image shows that construction is still ongoing even if traffic has stopped moving on the potholed route. Angry commuters berated the authorities on social media and posted multiple images of the gridlock on the motorway.

Major traffic jams are frequently experienced on NH 66, which runs through the three coastal districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg and connects Mumbai to Goa, during Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, and summer holidays. Particularly during Ganesh Chaturthi, when Mumbaikars from the Konkan return home, commotion results. The drivers are forced to travel the highway through Pune and Kolhapur in order to go to Konkan; despite the fact that this route is about 100 km longer, it spares them from uncomfortable rides and takes only about two hours.

To ensure a comfortable journey for Ganesh Chaturthi this year, the government had pledged that construction on the highway would be finished before that holiday. However, the administration once again missed this deadline.

The 471 km Mumbai-Goa motorway has a 100 km section from Palaspse to Indapur, and the route has become impassable as the condition of the road is worsening with each passing day. Between January 2010 and April 2021, 2,442 Konkan citizens died in traffic accidents, many more had lasting injuries, and many suffered permanent disabilities, according to an estimate by the government.

In 2007, initial plans for constructing four lanes and concreting the highway were proposed. The design received approval from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) in June 2013, and the actual building started in November 2017 after 80% of the land purchase was finished. The state government had promised to widen the route to four lanes in 2010, but only two packages could start construction in Sindhudurg till December 2011. According to NHAI authorities, the highway's anticipated project cost at that time was around INR 15,566 crore.

Raj Thackeray, the leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), took up the issue earlier this year, and as a result, the state government acted swiftly and declared that it would finish at least one lane in the unfinished packages by the start of the Ganesh festival on September 19.

The deadline was again missed despite at least six visits from BJP's public works minister Ravindra Chavan in the previous two months to assess the work.

MumbaiLive would like to send you latest news updates