Much like the Yamuna Expressway, which connects Greater Noida to Agra and has witnessed 94 deaths this year alone, the Lucknow-Agra Expressway has emerged as a challenge when it comes to road safety.
A dream project of the previous Akhilesh Yadav government, the Lucknow-Agra Expressway was finished in record time and opened to the public after the BJP government came to power in 2017. According to the UP Traffic Directorate, 281 accidents took place in 2017 and 2018 on this stretch, resulting in 127 and 116 deaths respectively.
Yamuna Expressway bus accident | Among victims, one-year-old girl, a father visiting son, 22-year-old starting first job
Awanish Kumar Awasthi, chief executive officer of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), said most accidents are caused due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel and vehicles travelling at high speed: “We have sought suggestions from the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and are implementing them to cut down on accidents.”
Recommendations given by CSIR-CRRI include: “Provide chain-link fencing adjacent to the metal beam crash main carriageway; provide additional rest area along both sides of the Expressway to break fatigue; provide road studs along lane markings, edge line markings and kerb line markings to break fatigue; transverse bar marking at all exits of the Expressway as well as merging of ramps and put up signs with slogans to warn drivers against fatigue; provide cattle arrestors on entry and exit and ramp; provide fuel stations at rest areas.”
Asked about these suggestions, Awasthi said “they are being implemented”.
Deepak Ratan, inspector general, Traffic Directorate, UP, said most accidents are caused by lack of awareness. “Speeding is one of the main reasons. Tyre bursts, drivers sleeping off and drivers parking on the side of the road are other reasons. On the Yamuna Expressway, there have been 95 accidents this year, causing 94 deaths. This year’s data for Agra-Lucknow Expressway is being compiled,” Ratan said.
Asked about road signs and access control on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway, both the IG and UPEIDA CEO claimed “they are in place”.
A senior official in UPEIDA said that to ensure safety of travellers, 200 retired Army personnel have been deployed on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.