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Highway to HELL: Research body says Delhi's roads are deathtraps after 1,500 people die in 2016
Faulty designs and inadequate safety measures have turned major arterial roads in the national Capital into virtual deathtraps, a recent study of the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) found.
Over 1,500 people were killed in various accidents on Delhi roads in 2016. Experts believe were it not for heavy congestion, the fatalities would be much higher.
'A large number of road projects in Delhi lack the safety norms,' Dr S Velmurugan, head of the traffic engineering and safety division at CRRI, told Mail Today.
Delhi has 33,000 km of road network, out of which the arterial ways measure about 1,800 km of road-length.
'These arterial routes accommodate nearly 80 per cent of Delhi's traffic and thus proper road design and safety measures become very important.'
Unfortunately, said the CRRI official, recent post-operational safety audits on two of the busiest arterial roads in the city – Dwarka flyover and Sarita Vihar underpass – proved their worst fears right.
In its audit of Dwarka-Palam flyover, which reports nearly 30 grave accidents every year, the CRRI pointed out that the road-owning agency had completely ignored design and safety standards, leaving motorists vulnerable to fatal accidents.
The CRRI findings noted that apart from five sharp curves, that are the biggest engineering fault on the two-km long flyover, safety measures like cautionary signs, pedestrian facilities and speed-calming measure are also missing.
The flyover has claimed over 150 lives since it was built. A city court had even termed the flyover a 'man-made death trap' in its observation.
'Most long stretches designed for non-stop smooth traffic flow in the Capital have basic design flows,' said Velmurugan.
In the safety audit of the Sarita Vihar underpass in southeast Delhi, which caters to a whopping 30,000 vehicles every hour, the CRRI team came to the conclusion that pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles were left to the mercy of fast-moving traffic.
Velmurugan, who supervised the audits for both projects, said nothing could be done change the sharp curves on the Dwarka flyover but traffic calming measures and large cautionary signs could bring down the accidents significantly.
The expert also suggested strict enforcement and prosecution of speeding vehicles on the flyover.
More loss The Dwarka flyover and the underpass were designed to provide better connectivity to the traffic coming from western and eastern parts towards south Delhi.
But in gross violation of prescribed safety designs, the two arterial pathways have caused more loss than ease, the CRRI report said.
Dwarka flyover caters to a heavily built-up area and provides access to about 11 lakh people residing in Dwarka, which is locked between a railway line, the Najafgarh drain and airport.
Sarita Vihar underpass is located close to the confluence of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and hence caters to a sizeable amount of traffic emanating from the arterial roads of NCR townships namely, Faridabad, Noida and Greater Noida.
The underpass and flyover connects strategically important locations like Ashram, Badarpur and Noida.
Eventually, a six-lane flyover was constructed by the Delhi Development Authority in Ashram-Badarpur direction in the year 2000 to facilitate signal-free movement of traffic on NH-2.
The audit report points out that the cycle tracks created at the Sarita Vihar interchange facility were left completely dysfunctional forcing the cyclists and other non-motorised vehicles to merge with the normal traffic.
This created a messy situation and increases the risk of fatalities.