There have been five accidents, claiming four lives, inside the city’s underpasses so far this year, throwing a series of posers towards authorities concerned over structural safety of these fast tracks.
Is there any engineering defect in these underpasses? Are traffic police failing to rein in reckless driving? Or are motorists at fault?
Some experts stressed the need for setting up of metal crash barriers, and regular road safety audits. On the other hand, the consultant and the agency that built Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk underpasses (and flyovers) recommended deterrent walls and speed bumps to prevent fatalities due to accidents and check speeding through the signal-free stretches.
Dr S Velmurugan, head of the traffic engineering and safety division at Central Road Research Institute, said underpasses and flyovers should be designed to prevent fatal accidents. “Underpasses and flyovers should be designed in such a way that they can absorb the impact of a crash and avert fatality. Metal crash barriers need to be put in place. So that when a car, for example, meets with an accident, it doesn’t block the traffic flow and trigger pile-ups or more mishaps,” explained Velmurugan.
Dr Ashish Verma of the department of civil engineering, Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), advocated regular safety audits to detect and fix flaws, if any, in road alignment or traffic management. “Thorough road safety audit, both during daytime and night, should be carried out at different stages — during the drawing and construction phases and also after the launch ,” he said.
However, accidents don’t always take place due to flaws in road design. At times, rash driving and motorists’ carelessness too lead to crashes, he added. Also, lack of maintenance of vehicles may result into a crash. The 32-year-old businessman died in the accident inside Rajiv Chowk underpass on Sunday night after one of the front tyres of his Fortuner burst and the car hit an iron pillar installed to support the underpass roof before ramming into the wall.
“Early morning accidents some times happen when drivers doze off behind the wheels. Also, many motorists don’t do a quality check on their vehicles regularly,” added Verma.
Saurabh Singhal, the team leader and traffic transportation expert at Bloom Companies, the project consultant for NHAI, said, “The contractor has installed caution boards, speed limit boards, retro reflecting tapes on the column posts in the underpasses and foot overbridges. It has followed all safety norms as per Indian standard codes and specification. Now, we are proposing concrete walls around all these structural foundations that can absorb the impact of accidents.”
An official of Gawar Construction, the construction agency, said, “We will propose speed bumps in these underpasses and flyovers. But then again, vehicles tend to speed through such stretches and speed bumps, in turn, may cause accidents. The need of the hour is to educate motorists and bikers so that they always drive within permissible speed limits and follow road rules.”
Date: July 4, 2018
Source: Times of India