The accident-prone Mumbai-Pune Expressway, where 17 people were killed in a major accident on Sunday, is still short of safety measures. While the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has already installed the brifen safety ropes on some accident-prone spots it has now emerged that the ropes are in a bad condition at few places.
Tanmay Pendse, who has researched about the accidents taking place on the Expressway with two of his friends over the past year, had visited the stretch of the Expressway in the recent weeks. He found that the steel wire ropes have become loose and some poles supporting these wires have also tilted after vehicles rammed into them.
At one of the places, the pole supporting the wire has become weak, which is very dangerous.
Even after the installation of the safety ropes, the maintenance work has not been done properly. MSRDC has already started the installation of the safety ropes at other places on the Expressway to reduce the impact of the vehicles colliding on the median, but they are not maintaining or inspecting the existing ones.
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “I think the authorities should see to it that installation of all the important things is done in a proper manner because majority of them were to be done when the Expressway was inaugurated. The missing crash barriers at a few places and non-maintained safety ropes should have been repaired the very day they were damaged.”
The ill-maintained, damaged, safety ropes in 2016
Meeting with CM
Pendse had a meeting with the chief minister, Public Works Department, MSRDC and various other authorities yesterday. Speaking to mid-day, he said, “Many things need to be done to prevent accidents and this includes timely inspection and maintenance of the brifen safety ropes, crash barriers and installation of CCTV cameras. The outcome of our meeting with the chief minister has been positive and we are confident that proper steps would be taken to prevent accidents and save lives.”
In March-April 2013, MSRDC had started the pilot project of installing the brifen safety ropes on the accident-prone stretch of Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The installation of wire was started on the 2.5 km stretch between 73 and 77 km on the median of the Expressway between Lonavala and Pune at a cost of R88 lakh in order to avert head-on collisions. The decision was taken after Marathi actors Akshay Pendse and Anand Abhyankar passed away in an accident on the Expressway.
Transport experts had even welcomed MSRDC’s idea to install the ropes and had also said that even though it could not rule out the possibility of an accident, it would surely reduce the scale of fatality. After the pilot project proved successful, MSRDC has decided to install it at other stretches of the Expressway as well.
Vaishali Chawan, Borivli resident
It is true that a majority of the accidents take place on the Expressway because of human error, but this does not give the authorities a right to forget their job. I think the authorities should do a timely inspection of the ropes and repair the damaged ones.
Shreepad Gawde, Jogeshwari resident
The pathetic thing is that no one cares about the lives of people who travel via the Expressway, because had the authorities been serious, they would have repaired the tilted poles and the brifen ropes, which is in bad state a few places. Are the authorities waiting for a disaster to happen?
MSRDC’s Managing Director R Mopalwar told mid-day, “We are trying our level best to make the Expressway a zero fatality corridor and the work order for installation of safety ropes has also been issued. The work will start soon and will be completed at the earliest.”
Rs 30 crore
MSRDC’s previous estimate for installing the wires all along the Expressway
The number of carbon steel wires in a brifen safety rope
The number of accident-prone locations where the ropes were previously installed
Rs 5 crore
The cost of installing ropes at these 15 locations