Take the road towards excellence

Seven people were killed when a speeding SUV rammed into a dumper truck on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway near Rasaini in Khalapur at the start of this week. The driver of the SUV lost control after a tyre burst and the car crashed into the divider first and then rammed into a dumper coming from the opposite side. The victims had gone to Satara for Ganpati celebrations and were returning to Mumbai.

The crash was yet another accident statistic on what is known as the E-way roster of road accidents. One does realise that a large amount of accidents are due to over speeding and rash driving. The people cannot shrug off their responsibilities in these scenarios. Having said that, it is important that the E-way is also equipped to handle disasters.

One needs to install speed-calming strips (‘cats-eyes’) every 3-4 km and closing down illegal u-turns should be strictly enforced. One often sees heavy vehicles on the right, they should ply on the left allowing lighter vehicles to go past. We need to cut vegetation at sharp turns to improve visibility.

International standards may have rest areas for drivers, especially truck drivers, every 40 km on both carriageways. People may laugh this off as Utopian, but it is attention to detail that really makes infrastructure world class. It is not enough to have an international class road. The facilities that go with roads, hospitals, ambulances, signage, which are very vital and in which we seem to lag behind should all be part of the package. Making a classy road but not factoring in all the other elements that take into account accidents and disasters, is a bit like the mushrooming of all these spiffy residential towers in Mumbai, without the infrastructure to support it.

Let the authorities pay immediate attention to plug in the lacunae in terms of accidents and disasters on the E-way. The Mumbai-Pune E-way that has cut the travel time hugely and changed so many lives, should now move to become the complete package.

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