Life in Gurgaon

Speed-calming measures, lane segregation suggested to tackle accident cases in Gurugram’s underpasses

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Road safety experts have suggested that implementation of speed-calming measures and segregation of lanes may provide a solution to the growing number of accidents taking place inside underpasses, most of which, they say, take place due to vehicles travelling at high speeds.

On Saturday morning, a motorcyclist was killed and the pillion rider was injured in an accident inside the DLF Phase-1 underpass after their motorcycle was hit by a speeding multi-utility vehicle (MUV) from behind, as per police officials.

A case in this regard has been registered at the Sushant Lok police station. A copy of the FIR, in possession with Hindustan Times, states that the accident took place at the carriageway which is used by commuters to travel from AIT Chowk towards Sikanderpur around 5.45 am. The driver of the MUV abandoned his vehicle and fled the spot. The victims were rushed to Paras Hospital, where the motorcyclist Harish, a resident of Rohini, New Delhi, was declared dead on arrival.

As per traffic police officials, there have been four fatalities over the past 12 months.

Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is responsible for looking after the underpasses on the Golf Course Road-Cyber City stretch, while the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for those on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.

Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and faculty member at the School of Planning and Architecture, who is also compiling a comprehensive mobility plan for the GMDA, said that he voiced his concerns regarding high speed vehicles with officials during a meeting held on Monday and suggested some engineering changes.

“I met with GMDA officials and informed them about my concerns regarding high speed driving, in the context of Saturday’s accident. I advised them that one of the reasons for high frequency of accidents inside the underpasses is due to the mixing of high and low speed traffic. In most cases two wheelers and three wheelers are travelling at a far lower speed than four-wheel vehicles that is leading to collisions. As a long-term solution to the crisis, I suggested segregating traffic into different lanes, one for high speed and the other for low speed vehicles,” said Sewa Ram.

Sarika Panda Bhatt, program coordinator for Haryana Vision Zero, a government initiative to achieve zero fatality on roads, said that in numerous road safety meetings where representatives from all public bodies assemble, the issue of high speed in underpasses have been discussed on various occasions and experts have suggested introducing rumble strips inside underpasses as speed calming measures. However, the same is yet to be followed through.

Rumble strips, as the name suggests, cause a rumbling sound when vehicles pass over it to warn the drivers of an approaching crossing, junction or a high-speed corridor, to alert inattentive drivers and reduce chances of collisions.

“On several road safety meetings, experts have suggested installing rumble strips after every 100 metres inside the underpasses to alert drivers of high accident zones or approaching crossings as the solution to reduce accidents. However, despite the suggestion, authorities are yet to enforce this on the ground. In addition, a road safety audit of Golf Course Road needs to be also carried out once again as the traffic volume and movement have changed drastically since the opening of underpasses,” said Bhatt.

MD Sinha, additional chief executive officer (CEO) of GMDA, said that the Golf Course Road-Cyber City stretch is meant to be a high-speed corridor, and a reduction in speed will only lead to heavy snarls. Sinha however said that the GMDA’s project of installing around 5000 CCTV cameras at major crossings and junctions will prove to be a major deterrent in checking ‘reckless’ driving.

“The GMDA is undertaking a major CCTV cameras project, which will go a long way in checking traffic violations which includes over-speeding. The cameras will be equipped with a number-plate recognition system and issue automatic challan to the offender based on the violation. The project is under way and will be completed within the next six months. Once complete, there will be a major change in city’s obedience in regards to traffic rules that will not only reduce accidents but also save lives,” said Sinha.

Ashok Sharma, project director of NHAI, did not respond to texts and calls.