After four lives lost, NHAI wakes up to highway gaps

December 16, 2013

Agency: DNA

Anuj Ismail

Conducts a safety audit; to repair 6 major bridges between Dehu Rd and Satara

After several lives were lost in highway accidents, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has finally woken up to the risk factors for highway commuters. They are in the process of sending a safety audit report to New Delhi before starting repair works on six major bridges — from Dehu Road to Satara — which are unsafe for commuters and require urgent repairs.

The revelation comes in the wake of tragic death of four employees of an advertisement firm based in Pune early last month. The driver of the car missed the gap between the bridges on near Nira river and their car plunged into the river. The spot likes 70 km from Pune on Pune-Satara Road.

The PS Toll Roads, a subsidiary agency of Reliance Infra, had submitted a letter to NHAI on November 25. The letter stated that urgent repairs, including crash barriers and fencing were required at various places on the stretch. Taking note of the letter, NHAI swung into action and asked two other companies to carry out the safety audit report.

NHAI project director Rajesh Kaundal, said, “Following the report submitted by Reliance we asked RH Associates and a third party safety consultant to conduct a safety audit. They will submit a detailed report soon. Once we receive the data, we will send it to our head office in New Delhi.”

“Our safety consultants are also looking into the contract with Reliance and see what repairs works they should carry as per the tender. We have to get in principal approval for the work. Along with that we also need finance for the work. Once we get the final approval from our head office we will start the work,” Kaundal added.

The NHAI sent the report of the financial implication to their head office last week. They will be send a detailed report for the in principal approval by the end of next week. The authorities claimed that the groundwork will only start next year.


High poor quotient in road fatalities hurdle to safety policy?

December 16, 2013

NEW DELHI: Is it because mostly poor and vulnerable people die on roads that safety policies are taking a backseat in India? At least some global road safety experts and legal luminaries feel so as figures show one person dies in every three minutes from road accidents in the country.

Speaking at a conference on Strengthening Road Safety Legislation in the national capital On Saturday, Delhi High Court judge justice J R Midha said that though India lose over 1.38 lakh lives every year in road crashes the issue has never found traction because mostly “poor” die on roads.

Director of violence and injury prevention at World Health Organization (WHO) Etienne Kurg said that half of the people dying in road crashes cannot afford a car. He observed since majority of the victims are not high profile the road safety issue and policies are not priority in many countries.

Out of the over 12 lakh people killed on roads across the globe, around 50% are pedestrians or cyclists. The pattern is similar in major Indian cities, including Delhi.

Pushing for strong and actionable legislation, experts from WHO and World Bank said that the pending amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act should be passed by Parliament. The amendments mainly focus on increasing penalty for traffic violations and are aimed at reducing fatalities. Globally, increase in penalty and good enforcement has worked in making roads safer.

On Saturday, road transport and highways minister Oscar Fernandes announced government’s vision to reduce deaths by 50%. Fernandes said strengthening motor vehicle related legislation will certainly result in road safety.

However, while regretting for disruptions in Parliament proceedings Fernandes said efforts will be made to get the Motor Vehicle Act passed in the ongoing winter session. “The Bill (Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill) is listed. Every day I am trying that the Bill is passed in Lok Sabha but unfortunately no business is being transacted. In the last two days we will make every effort that it is passed,” Fernades said.

The minister added that if the House is extended by a couple of days then they should be able to take it up.

Amid reports of high fatalities on Indian roads, Krug said that there are countries that have set example of building more roads, adding more vehicles and yet reducing fatalities and crashes. “There is no single magic bullet. There have to be several legislations, enforcement norms and constant monitoring,” he added.


Nightmare travel on NH-5 stretch

December 11, 2013

Manabesh Mohanty,TNN |  

 CUTTACK: To cross a mere 500-metre stretch from Press Chhak and Madhupatna Square on National Highway No. 5, it takes more than 35 to 45 minutes.

NH-5 connects the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

The problem is an under-construction flyover near Madhupatna for which the private construction company has not made arrangements for a diversion. This situation has been going on for the past three to four months.

The construction company in question has not made any attempts to clear encroachment on the road which would have made it possible to create a diversion.

The National Highways Authority of India declined to comment.

One pedestrian killed every week in 2013 in Kochi

December 10, 2013

Gireesh P Krishnan,TNN

KOCHI: This certainly is a dubious record that should make the traffic police squirm: In 2013, one person has been killed every week while trying to cross the city streets. In other words, five pedestrians lost their lives every month in 2013 till November with senior citizens accounting for a majority of the casualties.
The number has gone up despite the police and motor vehicles department (MVD) carrying out regular inspections at various places to reign in speeding and negligent driving.

As per the data available with the police, 59 pedestrians died on the city roads up to November this year compared with 49 deaths in 2012. However, pedestrian deaths were really high in 2011 with 72 citizens losing their lives in road accidents.

This year, in the month of November alone 11 pedestrians died after being hit by vehicles on city roads. According to police, majority of pedestrian deaths occurred on National Highway 47.According to police, despite repeated requests the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has not taken any steps to provide zebra crossings for pedestrians on NH. “With pedestrian deaths increasing, we had requested the NHAI and authorities to provide zebra crossings and erect barricades. But there was no response,” said P P Shams, assistant commissioner, traffic west. He added even the road safety council had asked the NHAI to provide zebra lines and erect barricades on the median.

Strikingly, most of the pedestrians killed in accidents this year were aged 50 and above. As per the data, over 30 pedestrians aged 50 and above were killed on city roads this year so far.

“It’s a matter of concern that most those who died in road accidents are aged people. Accidents happen mainly during evening hours. Lack of sufficient light could be a cause as people may not get a clear view of approaching vehicles,” he said. Meanwhile, the NHAI said that zebra crossings alone would not help to address the issue. “Along with zebra crossings, signalling systems should also be provided for pedestrians to cross,” said C T Abraham, project director, NHAI.

Abraham further said that erecting barricades on the median will not be of much use as they are removed by the public periodically at Vyttila Junction.

“In order to enable pedestrians to safely cross roads, foot overbridges are required. The NHAI has already approved five foot overbridges at important junctions, including Vyttila,” said Abraham, adding that the construction of the bridges was likely to start in five or six months.

Structural flaws on Mumbai-Bangalore NH stretch: Study

December 10, 2013

Express News Service : Pune,

THE 34-km stretch of Mumbai-Bangalore highway in the Pune city limits has seen 110 fatal accidents in the last three years claiming 111 lives. Most of these accidents have taken place at 20 severely accident-prone spots that have been identified by the traffic police in a study. A report has been sent to the National Highways Authorities of India, Pune, which looks after the highway.Out of these 111 victims, 43 were pedestrians, while 50 others were two-wheeler riders. DCP Vishwas Pandhare said, “We have conducted a study on the reasons for these accidents. It is clear that most of them are structural flaws. It has been observed that the NHAI has given contracts of these works to a contractor who has further delegated the work to sub-contractors. So there is no co-ordination in the work. We have sent our findings to NHAI and the contractor.”

Senior inspector Sanjay Bhambure of traffic control branch headed the study. He said, “At most of these spots there are some common flaws. For example there are breaks in the dividers which the two wheeler riders and pedestrians use for crossing the roads. At many spots service road of the highway merges with the main highway. There are no signage boards and flash lights. Protective railing is absent at many places. The trees on dividers have different heights and are absent at some places. There is acute shortage of pedestrian subways and over bridges.”

Pandhare added, “We have sent the report to the NHAI. We have given them a detailed list of structural changes that are must for the prevention of accidents. “The breaks that have been made on the dividers or medians are causing a lot of accidents. As these breaks are not in the NHAI plan, there are no signages. Bikers cross the highways at these breaks and are hit by speeding vehicles coming from both the sides. These breaks need to be sealed.”

Some of the 20 spots identified by the traffic police with the number of deaths that occured there are in last three years are: Katraj New Tunnel (6), Katraj Viaduct (9), Ambegaon Budruk (6), Manajinagar Narhe (10), Warje Bridge (7), Dukkar Khind, Chandani Chowk (2), Bandal Estate (7), HEMRL break (6), Sus Sutarwadi connecting road (7), Balewadi Sports Complex (6), Mula Nadi (4), Wakad Bridge (3), Indira College (3), Sai Petrol Pump (4), Gokul Hotel (3) and Rajmudra Hotel (3).



20 accident spots up for NHAI scrutiny

December 10, 2013

Manish Umbrajkar,TNN |


PUNE: The 34-km Dehu Road-Katraj bypass, linking the outskirts of Pune with Pimpri Chinchwad, has become unsafe for road users.

The traffic branch of the Pune police has identified as many as 20 accident-prone spots on this stretch which is a part of the Pune-Bangalore national highway. A detailed report on the causes of accidents has been drawn up and road-safety measures have been suggested for implementation by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which has constructed the road.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare on Monday said at least 110 people have lost their lives on this stretch in the last three years. Besides 110 fatalities, a total of 47 accidents, resulting in serious injuries to people have occurred on the road. “This is the most unsafe stretch of road passing through Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal limits,” Pandhare said.

Traffic branch officials led by police inspector S G Bhambure had conducted a study of the road for nearly three months. It identified the accident-prone spots and causes of accidents. The traffic branch officials had invited NHAI officials to participate in the study. Traffic engineer Pratapsinh Bhosale and traffic policeman Deepak Varse helped them.

Pandhare said the report will be submitted to NHAI officials. “Although the traffic branch has identified the accident-prone spots, an independent road safety audit should be conducted. There should be a system put in place by the NHAI which will continuously monitor road safety measures,” he added.

Among the 110 fatalities, the highest number of deaths were those of two-wheeler riders, followed by pedestrians. The trend was replicated in the number of mishaps with serious injuries. The stretch has just four locations with safe pedestrian crossings.

Some common points identified as causes of accidents are absence of road signages, punctures of road median, absence of street lights, and absence of safe pedestrian crossings. At many places, gravel has been strewn on the left side of the road which makes two-wheeler riders use the right side of their lanes. It puts them in direct conflict with fast-moving vehicles and trucks that use the right side, resulting in accidents. Many locations have no demarcation of service roads and the main road, and medians are broken.

NHAI officials said a team of road safety consultants will conduct a road safety audit for three days. “They have been directed to coordinate with police officials to identify accident-prone locations and submit remedial measures,” an NHAI official said.

As recently as November 3, Subhash Rathod (50), a labourer was killed on the spot and another sustained severe injuries after the motorcycle they were riding crashed into a stationery truck near the Katraj-Dehu Road bypass in Pashan.

On February 12, 2012, two national-level badminton players from the city died in an accident near the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex at Balewadi. Another player, who was in the car, was critically injured. Siddhant Ghorpade and Saurabh Paralikar, both from Kothrud, were killed when their speeding car went off the road and crashed into a tree. Noted classical instrument maker Yusuf Mirajkar was among two persons, who died in an accident on Katraj-Dehu Road bypass on August 17, 2011.

Throbbing with activity

* Eleven years ago the Dehu Road-Katraj bypass was constructed as a four-lane highway to allow heavy vehicles, buses and other vehicles to avoid entering the city. The highway stretch is an important link from Mumbai to Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Belgaum, and Bangalore. Over the past decade, the bypass has become an integral part of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.

* Many commercial establishments, educational institutions, residential schemes have come up along both sides of the bypass. Vehicular and non-motorised traffic like pedestrians, and cyclists have invariably increased. The absence of service roads forces people to make use of the main road.

* The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has taken up widening of the highway stretch from four lanes to six lanes. Bridges across the river and subways are being built. Road-safety features have been hit because of the ongoing works. The issue was raised by road safety activists at a recent traffic advisory committee meeting organized by the police commissionerate.

Jammed junction on NH-17 dangerous for pedestrians

December 9, 2013



The four-road junction on National Highway 17 near O Coqueiro, Alto Porvorim, is yet another danger zone for pedestrians. Vehicular traffic moving at a break neck speed on the highway and also to and from the queen of beaches, Calangute and internal areas of Porvorim causes chaos at this intersection.The stretch of the road ahead towards Mapusa has been declared a danger zone for motorists, as several accidents have been reported in that section and many lives have been lost in the past.

Two cops are seen at the junction regulating traffic and that is the time pedestrians have some relief, but during supposedly off-peak hours, they are left to their own mercy. The location of two bus stops causes more congestion in the area.

While the traffic on the main thoroughfare zooms at top speed, tourist buses, vehicles carrying tourists and other vehicles approaching the highway from Calangute add to the confusion. Often vehicles diverting towards Calangute from the junction are seen racing away without entering the proper lane.

On the other side, the road leads to internal areas of Porvorim, Socorro and Salvador do Mundo in the east. Seeing the confusion, the entry for these vehicles to cross to Mapusa or Calangute has been barred and they have to do a roundabout on the highway towards Panaji.

Just one team to probe all road accidents

December 9, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN



NEW DELHI: India is home to the world’s deadliest roads reporting 1.4 lakh deaths annually, but has a solitary expert team to investigate all road crashes to find the exact cause.

Government reports claim 90% crashes involve vehicles, but only 1.4% of accidents and another 2% are caused due to defect in vehicles and roads. Lack of scientific investigation has been the biggest stumbling block.

 Though 52 people died last month in two separate accidents, involving Volvo buses, the preliminary findings of an investigation team into the incidents are still pending. Sources said that when the team headed by IIT-Delhi professor Anoop Chawla was finalizing the findings of the first crash at Mehboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh, another one occurred at Haveri in Karnataka.

“The same team had to be rushed to investigate the case since the two incidents were similar where buses caught fire after crashes. There is no other team to investigate such cases,” said a government source.

Professor Chawla and his team get all such cases that are referred by National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP).

In fact, road deaths’ reports since 2008 show how few crashes are attributed to mechanical snags in vehicles and defects in road condition since rarely there is any scientific investigation of fatal accidents. For example, government data claims that only 2,752 people were killed in road accidents in 2008 due to defects in vehicles. While, the toll stood at 2,739 last year.

“Here, accidents and fatalities data come from FIRs. We can’t expect a policeman without adequate knowledge and training to pin point the cause of crashes while writing an FIR. We also don’t carry out crash investigation which can help government take measures to prevent accidents. For some time we are training cops in accident investigation as a part of home ministry’s initiative,” said Rohit Baluja, a road safety expert and president of Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE).

The chief of US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief David L Strickland said that correct data form the basis of taking right decisions to improve road safety. “For example, we have undertaken research how to prevent drunk driving and collision after our data showed that these are two major reasons of fatalities on our roads,” he told TOI on the sidelines of UN Europe-Asia road safety forum meeting at IRTE.

Road transport ministry officials said that the government is trying to address the concern by setting up a vertical to undertake research and investigation under its proposed Road Safety and Traffic Management Board. “We plan to collaborate with NHSTA to improve our road safety programme. We have very few dedicated manpower to deal with the issue. Establishment of the new body will have more men and fund to undertake research to make our roads safe,” said road transport secretary Vijay Chhibber.



Noise barrier for Pedder Road flyover

December 5, 2013


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation ( MSRDC) has been asked to take steps to curb noise, control air pollution and streamline traffic before work begins on the Pedder Road flyover. The suggestions were given by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) for projects related to infrastructure development, CRZ, at its 128 meeting on November 29. While recommending granting of Environmental clearance, the EAC stipulated conditions that will have to be fulfilled during the project work.The 4.2 km long Pedder Road Flyover is starting from North side of Haji Ali junction on Lala Lajpatrai Road and ends at Wilson Collegeon Girgaum Chowpatty.The present proposal is for adding additional four lanes on the existing corridor of Pedder Road. This will provide additional and faster vehicle movement for the southern and northern axis traffic.

This will facilitate easy movement of traffic below and over the flyover and which will reduce air and noise pollution in the corridor.

The EAC has stipulated that should install Noise Barrier System during construction and post construction phase on the alignment of the project. Also, thick vegetation cover should be wherever required for attenuation of noise.

It also asked that stationary construction equipment will be placed away from the habitation and asphalt and hot mix plants shall not be installed at site.

It said, “Noise generating construction activities like drilling, compacting etc. should be carried out only during day time in residential areas.

Besides construction contract specifications should specify use of less noise generating equipments

As regards air pollution, the EAC said, “Fugitive dust entertainment will be controlled by sprinkling water and eco gadgets like solar-powered city air purifiers shall be mounted on street light poles.”

In order to reduce congestion during the work, the EAC said, “The Project Proponent shall use Composite Structures for the construction of the flyover to tghe maximum possible extant. Construction material as well as excavated material should be disposed off or shifted only during the night time when the traffic will be much less. ”

For Construction of Super Structure Pre-cast Segmental construction technology would be adopted, while for in-situ construction, a movable Scaffold System construction method shall be adopted. Thus the construction of piles and substructure shall use only a small part of the lane for a few days, it pointed.

EAC also stipulated that adequate construction boards, portable traffic signs, Chevron Signs, Road Marker Signs, Central lights & linkers on Barricades, etc will be put-up uniformly across near the construction and barricading all along the effective stretch of the proposed road.

Special paint for fog-safe roads

December 5, 2013


GURGAON: The deputy commissioner has asked the city’s civic agencies to use thermoplastic paint for lane markings on all major roads to help vehicles stick to their lanes and prevent accidents on days with dense fog this winter.

In a meeting on road safety at Mini Secretariat on Wednesday, deputy commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi said, “On roads which are less than 25 ft wide, the curves need to be highlighted by lane-markings and reflectors.”

Reflectors should be installed on the dividers and radium tapes wound around the trees on roads, so that they are easily visible to the commuters, he said. “The officers concerned must take the forest department’s permission to remove trees if any before widening a road,” said Vidyarthi.

Concerned about the defaced and misspelt sign boards in the city, the deputy commissioner asked the concerned authorities to get them rectified. He also asked the concerned agency to get all dysfunctional streetlights in the city repaired.

To ensure that school buses follow the safety guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, Vidyarthi asked the secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Dalbir Singh and district education officer Vandana Gupta to start a drive in cooperation with the traffic police. He also directed the city schools to display bus routes on notice boards.



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