The delay in the construction of the bridge connecting areas within Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has irked residents, leading them to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with the Bombay High Court.
The bridge, spanning the Mula River, was completed but remains non-operational. This situation inconveniences commuters traveling between Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, forcing them to rely on the Pune-Bangalore highway, which is sometimes considered dangerous and increases both fuel costs and travel time significantly.
One of the primary issues in these areas is the absence of a direct and convenient route connecting Baner, Balewadi, and Wakad due to the natural barrier of the Mula River. In 2013, PMC and PCMC jointly approved the bridge's construction, with an estimated cost of over ₹31 Crores, with the expectation that it would greatly benefit the local population. However, despite its completion in 2018-19, the bridge remains closed to the public.
Commuters continue to suffer as bridge remains unused
The persistent delay in opening this vital bridge has frustrated and burdened thousands of residents in Wakad, Kaspate Wasti, and Pimple Saudagar. The road leading to the bridge from the PCMC side has been ready for years, yet commuters continue to suffer as the bridge remains unused.
Local resident and petitioner Abhijit Garad expressed his frustration, saying, "The ongoing delay in opening the bridge worsens the daily commute for thousands of residents in the Wakad, Kaspate Wasti, and Pimple Saudagar areas. Citizens are forced to take longer routes to reach offices in Balewadi and Baner, even though the approach road to the bridge from the PCMC side has been ready for many years. This not only increases fuel costs due to the use of alternative routes like the Bombay-Benglore highway and Jupiter Hospital but also extends the commute time. Each time a promise is made to open the bridge, it gets renewed every six months. We don't see any concrete action on the ground."
Despite numerous pleas to PMC and local leaders, residents have received nothing but assurances, expressed Sandeep Mandloi, who also is second petitioner. He stated, "This connectivity between Balewadi and Wakad roads requires immediate attention from civic authorities to alleviate traffic congestion in Balewadi."
Advocate Satya Mule, representing the petitioners, commented, "The bridge's construction has been ongoing for the past five years. A substantial sum of 31 crores has been spent, and we demand that the bridge be made operational promptly."
Mule further noted that the bridge was constructed without addressing land acquisition and proper connectivity issues. Despite promises over six to eight years, there has been no significant progress at the site. He challenged the authorities to demonstrate progress within the next few months and submit an affidavit supporting their claims to the Bombay High Court.