The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is set to issue tenders soon for the Paud Phata-Balbharati link road project, which has been approved at a cost of Rs 320 crore.
According to a report by Times of India, "The tenders for the road project have been finalised and will be issued in a couple of weeks. The proposed road will have a major elevated section," said V G Kulkarni, head of the road department of the PMC.
As per the civic administration’s plan, the proposed road will be 2.1 km long and 30 metre wide, including 6 metre wide pedestrian path.
It will start near the Balbharati Building on Senapati Bapat Road and end at Paud Phata in Kelewadi.
The proposed Paud Phata-Balbharati link road will run parallel to Law College Road and pass through the foothills of Vetal Tekdi.
The administration has stated that the construction of this road will help to alleviate traffic congestion in Nal Stop Chowk.
Currently, commuters travelling from Senapati Bapat Road to Paud Road have to use Law College Road, which is often congested during peak hours.
However, environmentalists and citizens' groups have opposed the proposed road, saying that it would cause more harm than good.
Initially proposed in 1987, the road project faced opposition from environmental activists who expressed concern about the impact of the construction on the hills.
A public interest litigation (PIL) regarding the project was filed by Nagrik Chetna Manch in 2006, which was later dismissed by the High Court.
In its ruling, the High Court directed the PMC to conduct an environmental impact assessment and a traffic-related study before proceeding with the project.
In 2022, the PMC conducted an 'origin destination' survey to determine the feasibility of the proposed Balbharti-Paud Phata link road in the face of opposition from residents and activists.
As per an earlier Hindustan Times report, V G Kulkarni said, “The proposed road from Balbharti to Paud has been included in the development plan and we have a consultant EnviroSafe who proposed this survey.”
According to Kulkarni, this survey is to determine the traffic on this road and how many people use it daily.
But the residents felt that this survey is not at all in favour of the residents nor of traffic. Activists alleged that there were several drawbacks to this survey.
The civic body had also made provision in its 2022-2023 budget for the link road proposed 35 years ago.
According to a Pune Mirror report, the PMC with being in the final stages of publishing a tender for the much debated road, claims that the opposition to the project does not stand on any logical grounds anymore.
The PMC has selected a partially elevated road design that includes overpass and underpass structures at Balbharti on SB Road and a signalised intersection on Paud Road.
The consultant appointed by the civic body proposed four different alternatives for the project — with the most desirable option being a partially elevated road design featuring overpass and underpass structures at a cost of Rs 235.95 crore.
"The civic administration has finalised the project after due consultation with all the stakeholders. Expert committees have given their views and suggestions," said a senior PMC official.
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