May 10, 2009 12:29:07 am
Expert panel ready with safety report,Newsline looks at the danger zones on the speedway
* On April 21,one Mukesh Kumar,27,was crushed while crossing the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway after he jumped over the median fencing.
* Ten days earlier,on April 11,two first-year MBA students of Noidas Amity University Gagandeep Gill and Naman Sharma died when their speeding car hit a truck on the Expressway near Shankar Chowk. Speeding and lack of proper demarcations separating heavy and light vehicles were said to be the reasons for the fatal accident.
That,records show,is almost the norm on the Expressway a fatal accident every 10 days. With the spate of accidents unabated,the Gurgaon district administration constituted a committee on March 23 to check safety norms on the Expressway.
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The committee comprises Gurgaon DCP (Traffic) Satender Gupta,SDM (Gurgaon North) Shakti Singh,DGM of Haryana State Road Development Corporation R K Rathi,and representatives of DSC Ltd,developers of the Expressway,and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
The committee has compiled its report,though it has not been submitted yet due to the elections.
Newsline travelled down the Expressway from the toll plaza at Delhi border to Kherki Dhaula and back for a quick survey.
Entry points at toll booth
Committee says: Four lanes on the extreme left should be dedicated for traffic towards Udyog Vihar; the crossing is particularly dangerous as fast-moving traffic suddenly changes lanes.
Newsline finds: Traffic merges at the 32 toll gates without any indication or signage. The district administration had asked the developer,DSC Ltd,to mark lanes to segregate heavy and light vehicles so that slow and fast-moving vehicles can be regulated. The Deputy Commissioner has directed the concessionaire to install signboards at regular intervals.
Tagged and Untagged Lanes
Committee says: Non-tagged vehicles coming in the tag lane should be penalised and traffic marshals should guide commuters.
Newsline finds: Booth attendants and marshals are unable to prevent cars without smart tags entering the four dedicated tag lanes. Result: an unnecessary pile-up at the toll gates even for people who have paid for smart tags.
Also,there are very few marshals stationed at the entry points to prevent two-wheelers and slow vehicles from entering the main carriageway.
CCTVs and speed governors
Committee says: No CCTV camera or speed radar installed on Expressway to monitor speeding and traffic violators. This,the report notes,even after the developer was directed to install CCTV cameras and speed sensors on the Expressway.
Newsline finds: Confirming that there are no speed governors or CCTV cameras,SDM Shakti Singh says: The concessionaire has told us that installing these is not part of the agreement. So we have asked NHAI for a revision in the contract and make such arrangements mandatory.
Else,the NHAI will have to install CCTVs and speed-checkers.
Pedestrians having easy access,leading to accidents
Committee says: After reviewing the ongoing construction work on foot-overbridges,the report states,Barricading has small gaps near the generator points,making the exercise counter-productive. These gaps increase threat to safety as the volume of pedestrians crossing over is more at these points.
Newsline finds: While NHAI is in the process of putting up fences on the median verge,DSC Ltd has started its bus service between Shankar Chowk and IFFCO Chowk.
* No foot-overbridges on the Gurgaon side of Expressway; Delhi has only two.
Hero Honda Chowk
Committee says: Earlier there was an intersection at the Chowk on the main carriageway to let traffic and pedestrians cross to the other side but the point was later closed. As a result,vehicles headed from Khandsa Road to Hero Honda factory on other side of the Expressway have to either go till Rajiv Chowk (about 2 km) and take a U-turn or go further ahead till Kherki Dhaula toll plaza (about 5 km) for a U-turn.
Newsline finds: Problems occur when motorists (especially two-wheelers) come on the main carriageway in the opposite direction as the service road is perpetually submerged in water. This is fraught with danger,for there is a risk of being hit by traffic coming at high speed from the flyover.
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