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Monday, March 25, 2013

‘Till NH-17 is widened, put reflectors, add dividers to curb fatal accidents’

Experts Ask Govt To Slam Brakes On Overtaking

    The Mumbai-Goa Highway, one of the country's busiest and the state's biggest killer, is at most 6 metres wide in most stretches and yet only two phases of widening have been cleared so far. As the road continues to claim lives, experts want some immediate safety measures introduced to cut casualties till the highway is widened to four lanes with proper dividers. 

    Among the suggestions is using reflectors and fluorescent paint to mark the edges of the road, checking vehicles, especially their lights and drivers, and stopping traffic from overtaking at night. These immediate measures can reduce the rate of mishaps on the Mumbai-Goa highway to half till the time in the distant future when the road is four-laned, said the experts in road transport engineering. 
    The spot of Monday morning's mishap at Goregaon in Mahad on the highway is not only narrow but had blind turns and an uneven surface. The Goa highway, experts said, has over 100 risky stretches and several hair-pin bends as it criss-crosses the Western Ghats. 
    "In the night, visibility is always poor and since the road is narrow and has twists and turns, it is necessary to have catseye reflectors or fluorescent paint to mark the lanes. The state should also appeal to people not to overtake during night," said transportation expert Jagdeep Desai, adding that the final goal for safety was achieving fourlaning of the highway. 
    Senior transport expert Ashok Datar said the government should immediately identify the risky stretches and put makeshift dividers to avoid head-on collisions, most of which occur on the narrow highway because of drivers' error. 
    According to them, overtaking in the night was dangerous and stringent punishment should be given for not maintaining front and rear lights. "Even the signage instructing and warning drivers about the road condition, speed limit and directions are poor," said Datar. 
    "The government should have widened the Goa highway first before going for expansion of the Pune expressway. I think traffic is paying a huge price for such wrong decisions by those at the helm of affairs," said Desai. 
    Between January 2006 and December 2012 the highway has seen 7,721 mishaps killing 1,731 travellers.


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