NHAI, GCDA in feet-dragging mode

November 7, 2013


KOCHI: Though the rains have come down, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) have continued to renege on their promise to repair the highway on the Vyttila-Aroor stretch and the Kaloor-Kadavanthra road.

While the NHAI is awaiting the approval from their headquarters to start the tender process for carrying out the road milling work on the Aroor-Kumbalam bridge, the GCDA has not yet solved its dispute with contractor over the road repair work.

 The Aroor-Kumbalam bridge was closed after its surface was riddled with potholes which posed a threat to motorists. After inspecting the bridge, experts from IIT Madras had suggested breaking up the entire tarred surface of the bridge. Following this, the highway authority had come up with a plan to remove asphalt and concrete the stretch.

“We need the approval from headquarters to proceed with the milling work,” said NHAI project director C T Abraham. It has been pointed out that the regular repair and pothole filling work would be of no use in the present condition.

Meanwhile, NHAI authorities stated that except for the repair work on the bridge, they have completed the tendering process on other damaged stretches and works were being executed.

The highway authority said that they would complete them at the earliest.

GCDA officials said that the body had sought legal opinion to sort out disputes with the contractor. Though the Kaloor-Kadavanthra road was built with a five-year guarantee, the contractor has refused to repair the damaged portions saying that the agreement between him and the authority did not have a clause for executing such works.

“The GCDA will check whether the authority can take up the work independently. A decision in this regard will be announced in a week,” said GCDA chairman N Venugopal.

Brushing aside allegations that the damages on Kathrikadvu overbridge (ROB) have resulted in traffic congestion on the route, he said, “The opening of A L Jacob ROB and the diversion of traffic through the Thammanam-Pulleppady road have increased the movement of vehicles through Kaloor-Kathrikadavu road.”


3 more flyovers planned for Ghodbunder Road

October 9, 2013


MUMBAI: The state government will build three more flyovers on the Thane-Ghodbunder Road, said deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.Ajit, who had called a meeting at Mantralaya on Tuesday to discuss issues of Thane, said that he would follow-up with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to urge the MMRDA to build the flyovers.

Excise minister Ganesh Naik proposed that these flyovers be constructed at Anand Nagar, Kasarvadavali and Ovala junctions. He also proposed 10 footover bridges so that pedestrians can safely cross roads without obstructing traffic. Thane municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta said that the civic body would construct four of the footover bridges—one each at Tatvagyan Vidyapeeth, R-Mall, Brahmand junction and Kasarvadavali—while Pawar said the MSRDC would construct the remaining six on Ghodbunder Road.

Ajit also announced the setting up of an Islamic cultural centre at Mumbra.

Footbridges lying unused, but KMC plans nine more

September 24, 2013

Saikat Ray & Krishnendu Bandyopadhyay, TNN |

KOLKATA: A spurt in traffic volume has made crossing city roads riskier than ever. Foot over bridges are there at various intersections, but pedestrians prefer to hit the roads instead of giving that extra effort and climb the stairs. That, however, hasn’t deterred the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to plan more footbridges. In fact, it is planning to join hands with private agencies to build nine more over bridges in the city. Each bridge will have four escalators to encourage more pedestrians to use them. However, suggestions of elevators for the aged and people with disabilities have been turned down by the civic authorities.

On Monday, Atin Ghosh, member, mayor-in-council overseeing the KMC engineering department, and senior officials held a meeting with representatives of four city-based hoarding agencies who have responded to the ‘expression of interest’. “Each foot over bridge will cost Rs 4.5 crore. We will sign a build-operate-transfer agreement with these agencies for a period of 30 years. They will invest in the project and in lieu, enjoy advertising rights for 30 years,” Ghosh said.

However, the question that lies ahead is whether these footbridges will find any takers among the pedestrians. A TOI survey revealed that the footbridges that dot various spots of the city at present have been largely unutilized. Despite boasting of an elevator and escalator, the foot over bridge near Bijon Setu across Rashbehari Avenue had very few pedestrians. Even during peak hours, less than 5% of people use the footbridge compared to those who cross the surface road. The situation isn’t any different elsewhere in the city.

Of the 11 footbridges that have come up in the city and its periphery, barely five were in use. These include five the ones in Ultadanga, Golaghata, Lake Town, Gariahat and Dhakuria. The rest lie deserted, with a couple of them even encroached by drug addicts.

Traffic engineers blame wrong site selection for the under -utilization of foot over bridges. Chief traffic and transportation engineer Ajay Das said, “Unless there is a continuous median divider, it is very difficult to make pedestrians use a footbridge. People will tend to cross the road along the surface road as it would be faster and easier than taking a footbridge.”

According to a traffic and transport planner, the footbridges right on road intersections are bound to fail, because there cannot be a median divider.

The three-point crossing of Ekdalia Road, Radhakumud Mukherjee Sarani and Rashbehari Avenue is a proof of this. Due to the absence of a continuous median divider, pedestrians merrily take the surface road. “While a child takes the escalator, the mother insists on taking the surface road. If we intervene, she asks us not to bother her,” said a traffic constable.

Some of the nine footbridges that KMC has planned may meet the same fate. While the footbridge near the Gariahat flyover is likely to be a success because pedestrian access across the road is restricted, the one on Rashbehari Avenue and Sarat Bose Road crossing is likely to fail. On Monday afternoon, the TOI team found madness at this intersection. People waved down cars midway to cross the roads while others strolled along the road. Even mothers with children in their laps walked with ease on these roads. Moulali and Mallickbazar crossings painted a similar picture.

But the civic top brass is undeterred. “We have taken note of this problem and planned four ramps to cover four corners. This will encourage the pedestrians to use the footbridge,” said Ghosh.

Dead end ahead

September 13, 2013

It was meant to be an intrinsic part of the urban dream that Noida was building. A 24.53-km stretch between Noida, a city that has its origins in the 1970′s, and, the more recent, planned extension of Greater Noida. If other satellite towns around the national capital such as Gurgaon constantly despaired on the state of the roads both inside and those leading to the city, the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway was Noida’s answer to motorists’ demand for world-class roads as more and more people drive in high-end and sophisticated cars.

Built by the Jaypee group which has also constructed the Yamuna Expressway, and later handed over to the Noida Authority, the six-lane road was meant to provide a high-speed link between Delhi and Greater Noida, in turn boosting the region’s market value. More than a decade after it was constructed in 2002, the road has stayed true to the promise of high-speed travel. But speed, combined with other logistical failings and lack of police enforcement, has turned the expressway into one of the most dangerous stretches in the National Capital Region (NCR).


Speed thrills

The expressway, almost deceptively, is far removed from the chaotic traffic that exists in the areas it connects — Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida. All six carriageways are well-carpeted, tempting drivers to speed. Lush greenery covers the median along the entire length, the road bending gently at places — but never enough to bring the speedometer down considerably. There are no traffic signals and, in concept, there is nothing to prevent an uninterrupted drive. But often, there are visible reminders that a commute was interrupted. A truck upturned on the median, a car damaged beyond recognition. Lives halted midway.



The first of several safety-related issues facing the expressway is pedestrians crossing the road. With the average speed of vehicles exceeding 85kmph, people crossing the road pose a risk to both themselves and the cars that veer dangerously to avoid them. “The reason we have to cross the road is there are no over-bridges. People are forced to cross the road to reach a bus stop on the other side, negotiating vehicles travelling at over 100kmph. We are exposed to danger every single day,” said Amit Gupta, a student at Amity University.

A string of commercial and residential projects have come up on both sides of the expressway, fuelled by good connectivity and Noida-Greater Noida’s growing population. “This has resulted in an increasing number of pedestrians who want to cross the road. Some of these institutions like Amity University and HCL cater to either students or office-goers who run into thousands. A majority of them use public transport and, therefore, have to navigate the expressway. Lack of bus stops at appropriate points and foot over-bridges means accidents are waiting to happen,” a traffic police officer said.


No over-bridges

While a large number of establishments have already come up near Noida, large residential complexes such as the Jaypee Wish Town complex are on their way as well. “Construction workers also cross the central verge, often carrying construction material that hampers their mobility. Once these complexes are ready, then residents will try to cross the road. It is imperative that arrangements are made. Either in the form of traffic signals or over-bridges at designated spots,” the officer said.

If the blame for the dearth of civic infrastructure can be laid at the door of the Noida Authority, the district traffic police too has failed to check over-speeding on the stretch. While the speed limit is 100kmph for cars and 60kmph for heavy vehicles and two-wheelers, it is routinely violated. Additionally, vendors selling sugarcane and fruits squat on the periphery of the road with several vehicles stopping by to make purchases. On the days Indian Express visited the expressway, on a weekday and again on a weekend, not one patrol vehicle was visible.


Lack of policing

“There is no deterrence as there are no police vehicles. If there is an accident, this delays investigation as well as reaching medical help to victims,” said Manish Sharma, a resident of Greater Noida who uses the stretch everyday.

Exacerbating the danger posed by high speed is the presence of extremely slow-moving traffic: cycles and other modes of public transport such as tempos. “Since no toll is charged on the road, it is the easiest route for people going from Noida to Greater Noida. There are various pick-up points such as Amity, HCL, the KPMG building and others, where people gather to board tempos,” said Prahlad Kumar, who operates a tempo on the stretch.

Dangerous in the day, the expressway becomes a demon at night. A Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) report states that the most dangerous period is between 10 pm and midnight, a time when trucks and other heavy vehicles use the road.

Speed it may facilitate but the 24.53-km stretch finds itself caught between its conception of a high-speed expressway and lack of sufficient checks and balances to make the drive a safe one. The twain must meet, for lives are at stake.

Source- http://www.indianexpress.com


RITES to find out if ads can be displayed on FOBs

August 16, 2013

Joel Joseph, TNN |

GURGAON: The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon has asked RITES to conduct a survey and submit a report mentioning whether or not the advertisements can be displayed on the 14 foot overbridges (FOB) it intends to build across the city.The FOB project has been in the pipeline for over two years now and was caught in a limbo after Punjab and Haryana high court, while hearing a PIL, directed all municipal bodies in the state to ensure that there are no advertisements on roads that distract the attention of motorists, leading to accidents.

Initially the MCG planned to construct the FOBs on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis wherein the agency that would get the contract to build them would get rights to display advertisement on them for a specific number of years. However, following the high court order, the construction model had to be re-looked since the advertisements could no longer be installed.

Not willing to spend its own money, despite being cash rich, the MCG has now asked RITES to conduct a survey of all the 14 locations and report in which all spots the advertisements can be displayed without diverting the attention of the motorists or being a traffic hazard.

According to a source, depending on the report, if there are spots which are non-hazardous, the contract for these will be given on BOT basis and for the rest the MCG will spend its own money in constructing them.

The lack of foot over bridges in the city is leading to a rise in traffic accidents in the city. The latest data from the traffic police shows an increase in the pedestrian deaths as they are forced to brave traffic in order to cross the road. Out of the 14 locations that will have FOBs, the first is to come up on the old Delhi-Gurgaon road near the Delhi border.

Doubts over utility of foot over bridge

August 12, 2013

Proshun Chakraborty, TNN


NAGPUR: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has started constructing a foot over bridge (FOB) at Law College Square. However, the question being asked is: Will the FOB be used by pedestrians?Citizens’ forums and some government officials say there is no need for a foot overbridge at that spot. The location was chosen more for the advantage of advertisers than pedestrians, they added.

“For whom the foot overbridge is being built,” asked Dinesh Naidu, secretary of Parivartan – The Citizens’ Forum. “There is no justification for constructing a bridge at the present site except that it is a prime location for hoardings,” he said in a memorandum submitted to municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane and commissioner of police K K Pathak, urging them to stop its construction.

These FOBs are result of arbitrary planning and lack of social engineering by NMC. Many norms have been flouted by NMC in conceptualizing, designing and awarding the work of these FOBs, citizen’s forums alleged.

“Such FOBs are not only a hotbed of criminal activities but have also been social nuisance wherever they have been constructed,” the NGO stated in the memorandum. The NGO is also planning to move high court against the construction of FOBs.

The FOB at Law College is among the 24 being built by an outdoor advertisement agency on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for NMC in lieu of advertisement rights.

Although there is a flat scheme on one side of the road, and two colleges, the square sees hardly any pedestrian movement and hence the bridge is unnecessary, Naidu explained. To prove their claim, the NGO has pointed out lack of use of FOBs in Mumbai.

Traffic activist Vinay Kunte said, “The foot over bridge is being built on the wrong spot for pedestrians,” he says, pointing out that the current location means that college students would have to walk down a few hundred meters, climb up and over, and then walk back. “It’s unlikely they’ll use it at all.”

Many feel that besides being at a wrong spot, such a bridge would be ineffective. “In general, foot over bridges are not much used. We find that people are more likely to use subway rather than a bridge, because psychologically they are more willing to go downstairs,” said an expert.

According to NMC’s executive engineer (Project) R M Hotwani, the civic body is creating the facility for pedestrians free of cost. Referring to Indian Road Congress norms, Hotwani claimed that it is mandatory for the civic body to create facilities (like FOB or subways) for pedestrians. Construction of subways is very costly and NMC is not in a position to invest money on this. So FOB was chosen, he said. He claimed that there was a demand for a FOB at Law College Square from the educational institutions situated there. “People needed some crossover at the junction,” he said. According to him, a study conducted by the PWD had said crossovers were needed at 24 places.

Some of the residents had also demanded that a signal be provided at that junction, he said. However, Law College Square foot overbridge is not the only one which has met opposition from citizens.

Points To Ponder

* To use FOB one will have to climb 30/35 steps which is very difficult for old persons

* While taking a subway people first go down 18/20 steps which is not tiring. While using a FOB they will have to climb 30/35 steps

* Young people are generally in a hurry do not like to waste their time using a FOB

* FOB is suitable only where there is heavy pedestrian traffic, mostly consisting of middle aged people


Intro: Can FOBs help solve problems for pedestrians at some of the busiest junctions of the city?

RBI Square: FOB is not needed at all as there is hardly any traffic. It is quite convenient for the pedestrians to walk

Ajni Railway Station: Not needed because people rarely take a walk from there and choose other ways to reach the places near station

LIC Square: Not needed because a zebra crossing can solve the problem of pedestrians

Mohini Complex: Resolving encroachment issue will automatically solve pedestrian problems

Chitnis Park Square: Encroachment and hawker stalls needed to be removed

Law College Square: Mostly students form the crowd and after their entry inside the college premises the mob is cleared

Shankar Nagar Square: Footpath and zebra crossing help pedestrians

Mor Bhavan: A zebra crossing can do the needful for pedestrians

Hotel Naivedyam: Clearing the mess on the footpath and a proper zebra crossing can make things easy

SFS School (Gaddigodam): A zebra crossing can help as students and their means of transport form a mob only in the noon and morning. Otherwise, the traffic situation is under control

Indora Square: Commercial complex visitors form the main crowd. A zebra crossing will help the pedestrians to walk the path

Anand Bhandar (Katol Road): Encroachment issues need some pondering which will help

Akashwani Chowk: The area is mostly crowded with two wheelers and four wheelers and there are a few pedestrians walking there. Hence there is no need of FOB

Chhatrapati Square Bus Stand: There is no need for FOB as a simple zebra crossing is enough for the pedestrians to walk

MIDAS (Janta Square): FOB construction at this square is a waste as the pedestrians prefer crossing the road using dividers

Sai Mandir: It will be a big task to remove beggars from the front side of the temple. Also, there is already a flyover on that road. Constructing FOB will create mess over there

Khamla (Sindhi Colony): There are hardly any pedestrians on Khamla Road. If required, a zebra crossing will do

Medical Square: The road near Medical Square is enough for the people to walk. Also, the relatives who come to visit patients, hardly use the road. FOB construction would be a waste

Gandhi Putla: As most of the time the road is covered with vehicles there are hardly any people who walk on this road

Agrasen Square: Footpath and dividers do the needful here. FOB is not required

City Bus Stand: Already the crowd of the buses creates havoc here and FOB will add to this.

Mayo Hospital: Relatives of patients come visiting, but they use the approach road of Mominpura. It does not affects vehicular traffic on Central Avenue.

Reshimbagh Square: This square does not have heavy pedestrian movement and hence there is no need for a FOB

Rajiv Gandhi Square: Though it a big square on Bhandara Road, the number of pedestrians is less. Hence, no need for FOB