The traffic will be diverted via the old highway (National Highway-4) as loose rocks and boulders are still being removed along the stretch to prevent landslides

Mumbai : Following the landslide that took place near Khandala on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway on August 2, 10-km ghat section on both carriageways will be close to traffic till August 10. The traffic will be diverted via the old highway (National Highway-4) as

loose rocks and boulders are still being removed along the stretch to prevent landslides, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation officials said.

The MSRDC has also decided to close one lane of the Expressway’s Mumbai-bound stretch to traffic for three months from August 11. “On the Mumbai-bound carriageway, near Khandala has been kept closed for traffic,” said Anil Diggikar, vice chairman and managing director, MSRDC.

While netting on the rocks was strengthened after multiple landslides, MSRDC engineers and geologists who inspected the landslide-prone spot on Sunday suggested that the stretch should be closed to vehicular traffic as there is a likelihood of another landslide.

Meanwhile, public works department (PWD) minister Eknath Shinde has sought the extension of two tunnels—Khandala and Adoshi—so that boulders don’t fall on the carriageways. According to the proposal, the two tunnels will be extended by a few metres.

The idea is that if a landslide was to occur near the tunnels, the extension would ensure that the boulders don’t fall on the road. They might fall on the surface of the tunnels’ extension and then trickle down into the valley, thereby preventing casualties, an official said.

On August 1, Mumbai-bound traffic on the Expressway was affected due to a landslide near the Khandala tunnel. Huge boulders fell on the three lanes of the Mumbai carriageway disrupting the traffic movement. Fortunately, there was no casualty. This is the second landslide on this spot. Earlier, on June 22, several big rocks had fallen down from the hillside here, leading to a traffic jam that lasted nearly 12 hours. On July 19, there was a fatal landslide near the Adoshi tunnel near Khopoli killing three persons.

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