Western Highway records 80 mishaps in a fortnight
Clara Lewis I TNN
Mumbai: If speeding on the Eastern Express Highway seemed dangerous, mere driving has proved fatal on the Western Express Highway.
Eighty accidents have been reported, two of them fatal, on the 2.5-km stretch between the Kala Nagar junction in Bandra and the Milan subway junction in Santa Cruz over the past fortnight. Ever since the onset of the monsoon early this month, there have been 76 mishaps between the Hans Mugra Road and the Kala Nagar junction alone—a distance of only 1.5 km.
S Nandgirikar, chief engineer, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is in charge of the two expressways, however, did not agree with the statistics. “We are regularly in touch with all the police stations as well as the traffic police and none of them has reported such a high rise in accidents,’’ he said.
However, according to P N Mestri, senior police inspector, Kherwadi police station, under whose jurisdiction this stretch falls, all the mishaps had occurred owing to skidding on wet roads. “The petrol and diesel on the roads, added by the rain, proved to be a deadly cocktail leading to these accidents. One of them proved to be fatal when a car skid and hit a person near a bus stop on the highway on June 15,’’ Mestri said. “Most of these vehicles were going at a low speed.’’
Local Shiv Sena corporator Prakash Sawant, who has complained to MMRDA commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad about the high incidence of accidents, said the figure now stood at 145.
However, the Vakola police, which man the expressway between Hans Mugra Road and Milan Subway, have a much lower toll. “There have been only three accidents since the beginning of June, and of them, only one was fatal.
This was on Thursday when a pillion rider on a motorcycle fell off the motorcycle and died,’’ said an officer. He agreed that the Vakola flyover and areas near the Hans Mugra Road were the most treacherous and most accidents occurred there. Since the beginning of this year, the Vakola police have recorded 34 accidents, six of them fatal, on that stretch, the officer added.
Nandgirikar said a substantial portion of the highway between Bandra and Vakola had been done with mastic asphalt, the same material that caused accidents on its eastern counterpart. “But it was laid much better on this expressway.
Besides, the possibility of speeding on this expressway compared to the eastern one is much lower. We will have to look into the reasons for the accidents,’’ he said.
Eastern corridor still slippery Roana Maria Costa I TNN
Mumbai: The MMRDA and the traffic cell’s steps to prevent skidding and accidents on the Eastern Express Highway has hardly proved to be successful as all their effort has been concentrated only on a one-and-a-half-km stretch between the Godrej north and south gates.
Nineteen minor accidents have been reported between Airoli and Ghatkopkar bridges owing to skidding. “From last Friday to this Friday evening, 19 minor accidents have been reported due to skidding,’’ said I S Udakeri, sub-inspector at the Vikroli police station.
On June 11, the traffic police installed two laser speed guns along the highway and since the next day, 444 cases of over-speeding have been registered. “A total of 444 cases of over-speeding have been registered and licences of all these drivers have been seized, while and they have been issued showcause notices by RTOs,’’ said Harish Baijal, DCP traffic.
The authorities have also placed barricades along the road, installed low-level speed retarders and chipping of the road is in progress. However, none of these is being done on the expressway other than the one-and-a-halfkm stretch.
“Most of the measures have been taken on that stretch as it is the most accident-prone zone and also has two road signals,’’ said SR Nandargikar, chief engineer, MMRDA.
Today workers were seen putting hot bitumen along the stretch to glue the chips to the road. “The chips are being laid to make the surface rough and the work will be complete in two to three days,’’ said Nandargikar.