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Maharashtra: ‘Approach by multiple agencies needed to tackle issues on accident-prone patch on bypass road’

According to police, serious accidents and heavy traffic jams have been reported from a 2-km patch of the bypass road in Narhe area on a regular basis.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: December 1, 2020 12:33:43 pm
Maharashtra: 'Approach by multiple agencies needed to tackle issues on accident-prone patch on bypass road'Officials said the incident involved two back-to-back collisions of heavy vehicles on an accident-prone spot of the bypass road.

Tow major accidents involving multiple vehicles were reported over the past week on Katraj-Dehu Road bypass of Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, in which three persons were killed and eight injured.

According to police, serious accidents and heavy traffic jams have been reported from a 2-km patch of the bypass road in Narhe area on a regular basis. Officials attributed these accidents and traffic snarls to a number of issues, such as a multitude of exit and entry points, absence of rumbler strips and signages, pot holes, lack of lane discipline and high-speed driving, encroachment on service roads, among others. They said coordinated effort from multiple agencies, including National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), local police, local civic bodies, including the PMC and Narhe gram panchayat, was urgently required to reduce the risk to life and occurrence of traffic jams.

Three persons were killed and six more injured after a container truck went out of control due to suspected brake failure, going on to cause an accident involving eight vehicles near Navale bridge on Sunday evening. In a similar accident, two persons were injured in a multiple vehicle collision involving five heavy vehicles and a car early on November 25.

Officials said the incident involved two back-to-back collisions of heavy vehicles on an accident-prone spot of the bypass road.

On Monday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Rahul Shrirame of Pune Police visited the area along with senior officials. Speaking to The Indian Express after the visit, Shrirame said, “There are several structural issues with this patch of the road. At some points, heavy vehicles descend over a patch with slope and cannot control speed. It has also been observed many times that drivers of heavy vehicles switch off the ignition on slopes to save fuel and, thus, are unable to control the vehicles with brakes properly. Some complications also arise because of the lanes heavy and light motor vehicles use while entering city limits. We are thinking of proposing an alternate lane rule for the patch of the bypass road passing through city limits. In the past, we have sent numerous communications to NHAI asking for accident prevention measures and structural changes, but there has been no response. A multi-agency approach is required and we will soon be undertaking a detailed analysis of the condition of the bypass road in our jurisdicton.”

Inspector Nandkishor Shelke of Sinhagad Road traffic division said, “Multiple road exits on the patch, from where vehicles and connecting roads join the highway, cause traffic snarls on a daily basis. Many times, heavy vehicles cannot control the speed and end up hitting multiple vehicles. While speed breakers cannot be installed on this road (being a highway), rumbler strips are urgently needed at different locations to curtail speed.”

Senior Inspector Devidas Gheware of Sinhagad Road police station said, “There are pot holes on the patch, and some are right on the entry and exit points of connecting roads. There is serious paucity of signage boards signifying slopes, accident-prone spots and speed limit. We have held meetings with NHAI officials and will again send them a detailed list of issues.”

Independent researcher Tanmay Pendse, whose brother, Marathi actor Akshay Pendse, and nephew died in an expressway accident in December 2012, said, “One of the main issues on this patch or the entire bypass road in general is the mingling of two different traffic flows. One from the city, which mainly comprises bikes, rickshaws and light motor vehicles, and one from the highway comprising heavy vehicles, trucks. In such a situation, even small structural flaws or errors can lead to serious accidents. The situation, once again, calls for focusing on the ‘four E’s of traffic safety’ — education, which means awareness among drivers; engineering, ranging from the right kind of reflectors to major structural defects; enforcement, which encompasses the enforcement of rules; and emergency response.”

When contacted, an official from the Pune office of NHAI said they took measures as and when requests came in from police. “We are holding meetings with police officials about the patch on the bypass road, and corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of these meetings,” the officer said.

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