Mumbai's killer roads: Flawed design, rash driving makes road at Chunabhatti accident prone

Updated: Aug 20, 2018, 13:11 IST | Suraj Ojha

Among the busiest in the eastern suburbs, this kilometre-long stretch at Priyadarshini Circle has many things wrong with it, including lack of all-important signboards and a seriously flawed road design

Mumbai's killer roads: Flawed design, rash driving makes road at Chunabhatti accident prone
People willy-nilly cross the road here, putting themselves and others in harm's way, just to get to Chunabhatti station, which is located on the other side. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

Priyadarshini Circle

This stretch, which is around a kilometre long, is one of the most important and among the busiest roads in the central suburbs. Mumbaikars use it to travel to Thane and Navi Mumbai as well as to south and central Mumbai. It is an eight-lane road, which has no speed limit, especially at night, when people drive rashly and cause accidents. The stretch itself has a flawed design, which is somewhat like a see-saw near the Priyadarshini Circle, another reason why accidents occur here.

Case studY: A 16-year-old boy, Sohail Patel, and his friend, Altamas Shaikh, who were on a scooter, died after they were knocked down by a dumper near Somaiya ground in June last year. Sohail, the rider, and Altamas were heading towards south Mumbai to buy some clothes for Eid. His mother, Hafiza, said, "On the day of the accident, around 12.45 am, Sohail had left home and taken the keys of his uncle's new Activa. He'd also taken R2,000 from me to buy a few pairs of kurtas and jeans. There were 16 of his friends with eight bikes between them," she recalled.

Sohail Patel's (left) mum, Hafiza (centre), says he was the only one of her four sons who looked after her; Shameem Shaikh (right), mother of Altamas, who was with Sohail, when the accident happened
Sohail Patel's (left) mum, Hafiza (centre), says he was the only one of her four sons who looked after her; Shameem Shaikh (right), mother of Altamas, who was with Sohail, when the accident happened

"Around 1.28 am, I got a call from one of his friends telling me that Sohail had met with an accident. I went numb with shock. Sohail was a good rider. I began to cry, and my neighbours took me to Sion hospital. As soon as we reached, the doctor told us that Sohail had been brought dead as he had severe head injuries."
Hafiza added, "Sohail was the only one of my four sons who took care of me. He had studied until Std VII and dropped out of school after that. He was an expert in mobile phones and had always wanted to open his own mobile phone shop."

Altamas, 19, was riding pillion with Sohail. His mother, Shameem Shaikh, said, "We never allowed him to ride bikes fearing exactly this kind of accident. But he would defy us on the sly. That day, he'd had dinner and told us that he was going out shopping with his friends. I told him to take care of himself and specifically told him not to ride a bike. And yet, he still lost his life," she said.

> Long stretch, which has no navigators
> Heavy vehicles and luxury buses moving at great speed

> Navigation boards should be put up in radium so that they are easily visible to drivers even during the night
> The see-saw road should be levelled

Total Accidents

For years 2017 and 2018 (till July 31)

Types of accidents:
People randomly cross the large stretch of road in the middle of traffic. Cars and bikes crashing into each other as there are no signals at points where several roads meet.

Total casualties

Major injuries

Minor injuries

Source: Traffic department

Vinay Yadav, 47, Chunabhatti resident
Vinay Yadav'Three roads meet on this stretch, and vehicles coming from Sion always move at high speeds. So, when say another vehicle coming from Sewri tries to get on to the same road at the same time as vehicles taking a turn towards Kurla, accidents happen. There should be navigation boards put up clearly showing the signals, and there should also be a traffic island built in the middle of the road so that drivers have greater control over their vehicles'

Jitendra Jadhav, 27, Chunabhatti resident
Jitendra Jadhav'I have been living in this locality since I was born and have seen people crossing the roads day in and day out, racing to the other side in the middle of speeding traffic. There have been many accidents here because of that. There is just one foot overbridge on the entire stretch and too far for some to access; hence, people are not keen on using it, preferring to race across the road to save time'

Jitendra Gupta, traffic expert
Jitendra Gupta'This area is surrounded by slums, so there is a lot of pedestrian movement on the road right in the middle of high-speed highway traffic. People try to cross the road here to get to Chunabhatti station'

Madhav More, senior inspector, Chunabhatti police station
Madhav More'Earlier, at Priydarshini Circle, drivers used to take sudden U-turns, or left or right turns on the highway. When BMC found out that this was the reason for accidents here, they closed the circle to reduce the number of mishaps. But, because this is a junction where the flyover ends and from where people take a left turn from the highway, it confuses motorists and bikers leading to accidents. People need to control speed here'

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