Yesterday, I along with three of my colleagues had to travel to Pune late in the evening to attend a workshop scheduled for today afternoon. Normally, I prefer to travel early in the morning and return back on the same day, however yesterday, I decided to tag along with my colleagues. We left office at about 9:15pm and decided to have lunch at this restaurant (Inside China) at Kharghar. As the name mentions, it serves Chinese cuisine. The food at this place is simply awesome and I would recommend anyone who goes to Kharghar to have dinner there. We reached this place around 10:45pm and finished dinner around 11:55pm. The Chocolate Mousse was simply awesome and we just kept ordering for the same one after another. Post dinner, we left for Pune.
We crossed the Khalapur toll gate and had just entered the Khandala ghat when we got stuck in a massive jam on the Expressway. I had read about the traffic jams on the Pune – Mumbai Expressway and knew that they are of the worst category and sometimes take upto 3-5 hours to clear. We were parked on the shoulder on the left side of the road and waited there patiently for the traffic to clear. After waiting for almost an hour, we moved a little ahead and were stalled again for another 30 mins. By this time however, some truck drivers had moved all the way to the right side of the road and had created an opening big enough for an SUV to pass and get on the road going in the opposite direction. We drove on the shoulder on the left side and reached the opening where we asked the driver, if we should drive against the traffic going towards to Mumbai. At first, the thought seemed pretty entertaining but we decided against doing the same and turned around to head towards Mumbai.
We decided to take the old highway to Khopoli and head to Pune using the old Mum – Pune highway. The old highway was relatively empty and free of traffic and we reached Khandala ghat in no time. We were constantly praying and hoping that we don’t end up stuck in the traffic jam again. As luck would have it, we had crossed the traffic jam and merged with the moving traffic towards Pune. In all this, it was already 1:45am. By the time we reached our hotel rooms in Pune it was around 3:00am.
The entire experience left me thinking that while we have such good highways, we need to have a good way to inform people of the traffic conditions on the road ahead. In the US, while traveling there used to be warning sign boards on the road informing people of the traffic condition of the road ahead and whether any diversion can be used to avoid the traffic. I believe a similar system needs to be set up so that people don’t get stuck in traffic when there are alternate routes available. I hope such boards are set up soon on the highways.