Mumbai's killer roads: Speed demons make Kherwadi bridge hell

Aug 10, 2018, 19:35 IST | Hajra Bi

Busy flyover sees motorists and bikers speed up as they climb on to it, leading them to either crash into other cars or into the divider

Mumbai's killer roads: Speed demons make Kherwadi bridge hell
The accident-prone spot on the Kherwadi bridge at Bandra East. Pic/Nimesh Dave

The spot is one of the busiest on the Western Express Highway. Thousands of vehicles pass through this road, some at great speed, making the spot extremely vulnerable to accidents. And, during the night, drivers often lose control of their vehicle and either smash into the divider or into another vehicle. In 2017 alone there were four fatal accidents at this spot.

Mangesh Korde's car that the bikers crashed into (below) Mangesh Korde
Mangesh Korde's car that the bikers crashed into (below) Mangesh Korde

Case studies: On February 14, 2017, three women, Mabel Banjani Christie, 87, her daughter Matilda Khadatare, 64, and grand daughter-in-law, Kavita Khadatare, were on their way to KEM hospital. The trio was coming from Mira Road in an ambulance, as Mabel was not feeling well.

Mangesh Korde

They were supposed to pick up Mabel's son near Kherwadi, but before they could do that, the ambulance hit the divider just at the beginning of the Kherwadi Bridge and turned turtle at around 11.45pm. While Mabel died, Matilda fractured her hip and Kavita sustained multiple injuries (not severe).

Mabel Christie died after the ambulance she was in crashed into the divider on Kherwadi flyover
Mabel Christie died after the ambulance she was in crashed into the divider on Kherwadi flyover

Kavita and Matilda who are both trained nurses now fear travelling by road. Kavita, who is employed with a Hospital, recalls the accident as the most terrifying of her life. She feels extremely claustrophobic in four-wheelers, especially ambulances. She says traffic rules and their implementation need drastic improvement to curb such deadly accidents. She also said that drivers often speed up once they find the roads relatively empty.

Map

On April 23, 2017, Kandivli resident Mangesh Korde, 26, was on his way to town with his friends in his car to meet another friend. Around 2.30am, as their car was climbing on to Kherwadi Bridge, something crashed into their car from the rear. When they stopped to see what had happened, they saw a motorbike had dashed into their car.

Kavita Khadtare, Nurse, Accident victim
Kavita Khadtare, Nurse, Accident victim

The pillion rider had sustained minor injuries, whereas the bike rider, Azim Shaikh, 23, had sustained head injuries. Mangesh and his friends immediately took both the injured to Bhabha Hospital. Mangesh said Shaikh was referred to KEM hospital where he was put on ventilator, as he had got a blood clot in his brain. He died four days later. Mangesh said he had noticed Shaikh riding rashly on the highway.

Problems
* Rash driving
* Lane cutting

Solutions
* Stationing traffic cops to maintain traffic discipline and control vehicle speed, especially during the night
* Signboards indicating speed limits on flyover

Khatun Shaikh

Locals speak
Khatun Shaikh,
local resident and activist
'People need to be educated about such dangerous spots first, only then will they fear speeding up and causing fatal accidents. One needs to understand that speeding or rash driving may not only cause injury to themselves, but also put others' lives at risk. The police, too, need to take stringent action against rash drivers so that others can learn a lesson and fear the law.'

Sufiyan Lakahni

Sufiyan Lakahni,
Resident, Bandra West
'My work as a property dealer requires me to travel to Bandra East often, where I have to take the Kherwadi bridge. I often spot motorists driving rashly and cutting lanes here and scaring safe drivers like me. Traffic cops need to act very harshly against such rash drivers so that others don't end up paying the price.'

Ashutosh Atre

Expert speak
Ashutosh Atre,
Road expert
'This stretch of road needs to be widened and the signal timings need to be increased. Also, the trees and plants along the median and at the side of the roads that come in the way need to be removed. Signboards need to be put up to make people aware of accident prone areas. The traffic cops need to do a proper study and come up with concrete strategies to curb road accidents here. Black spots are not permanent, they can be reduced with strategic solutions.'

R V Rane

Police speak
R V Rane,
PI, in charge of this section at Kherwadi until 2 weeks ago. He has now been transferred to D N Nagar police station
'The traffic police have been monitoring black spots regularly and trying every possible step to curb accidents. On this particular spot, two guards are deployed 12 hours a day to guide vehicles, limit speed and get motorists to follow traffic rules. We have also proposed that the BMC put up signboards around and at the spots indicating dangers ahead.'

Total Accidents 11
For years 2017 and 2018 (till July 31)

TYPES of accidents:
Accidents on the stretch are mainly caused by motorists suddenly speeding up when the stretch looks empty. Other reasons are motorists hesitating before climbing
the flyover

Total casualties
04 Death
00 Seriously injured
12 Minor injuries
Source: Traffic department

Also read: Killer roads: Race to save time ends up costing lives outside Sahara Star

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