PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has suggested to the union defence ministry three alternative roads to the road from Weikfield Chowk to 509 Chowk which needs to be closed as it is coming in the way of expansion of the airstrip at Lohegaon Pune International Airport. The PMC has prepared a detailed plan for these roads and will seek approval from the union defence ministry. The preferred option however is to connect the existing road from Five Nine Chowk to the Garrison Engineers Office area going around Barmashell slum while connecting the existing road from the stone quarry to Kalwad Wasti.
Vikas Dhakane, additional municipal commissioner, confirmed that the PMC has prioritised the road from Five Nine Chowk to the Garrison Engineers Office area going around Barmashell slum while connecting the existing road from the stone quarry to Kalwad Wasti. This road is approximately 1.8 kilometres’ long and is within the defence area. The PMC has started developing this road and once the road from Weikfield Chowk to 509 Chowk is handed over, the defence ministry will provide land for an alternate road in the Lohegaon area.
V G Kulkarni, chief superintendent of the PMC road department, said that the civic body has prepared a detailed plan for three alternative roads. The first option is an internal road within the defence area passing through 509 Chowk to the Garrison Engineers Office area. The second option is a road adjacent to the Kendriya Vidyalaya compound, connecting to the existing road from 509 Chowk to Barmashell slum. The third option is a road close to the stone quarry, also connecting to the Barmashell slum. A proposal with these three options will be sent to the union defence ministry for approval and construction of the road that is chosen will begin in July.
The Lohegaon Airport, located within the Air Force area, currently operates domestic and limited international flights to Bangkok. However, due to the inadequate length of the runway, the airport is unable to handle international flights effectively. In November last year, union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had discussed with union defence minister Rajnath Singh the need to extend the runway. As a result, the process of extending the runway on the southern side of Lohegaon Airport will be expedited. However, the road from Weikfield Chowk to 509 Chowk poses an obstacle to extending the runway, thus necessitating relocation.
Meetings and inspections have taken place between the airport administration and municipal authorities. A survey was conducted by municipal officials last week, considering various options for the new road. Construction of the new road is planned to begin in July. Once the new road is opened, the existing road will be closed and the runway extension work will begin. Additionally, a high wall will be constructed on both sides of the new road.