No lights + wet roads = recipe for disaster

Jul 07, 2012, 06:41 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

MiD DAY's late night journey on four key roads highlights that the absence of streetlights in several places puts the lives of motorists and pedestrians at risk

One of the first essentials on a public road are fully functional streetlights that enable motorists to navigate the path with ease. And especially when it’s pouring and the surface of the road is pothole riddled, streetlights play a vital role in ensuring a smooth ride.

In order to check the status of streetlights, MiD DAY visited four arterial roads in the city, namely the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Eastern Express Highway (EEH), Sion-Panvel Highway, and the road below the Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail corridor.

Our conclusion is that driving on these roads during the monsoons is not only a nightmare, but is also unsafe due to non-functional streetlights at various important stretches and flyovers.

The agencies maintaining these roads seem to be in deep slumber, as most of the roads that were visited at night did not have streetlights, while those that did were not functioning. Which only means that motorists and pedestrians using these routes at night were putting their lives at risk.

>>JP Road, Andheri
On Thursday around 11.15 pm, MiD DAY visited the arterial JP Road in Andheri (West) where the ongoing construction of the Metro rail and its station is in progress.

On reaching the proposed station near the Andheri Sports complex, we found that even though construction was in progress, streetlights were not functioning.

Due to the absence of proper lights, motorists driving along the rail corridor feel that it can lead to accidents.

“During the day time too, there is very dim light under the proposed stations, and this situation only worsens at night, as there are no lights. If lights are not installed at the earliest, there is a big chance of an accident occurring on this stretch,” said Suhel Majid, an MBA student.

Although, the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) agencies implementing the project, claim that they have installed temporary lights, it was observed that they have installed tubelights at some locations, which were hardly emitting any light.

MMRDA responds
Speaking to MiD DAY, MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “We are sorry for the inconvenience that is caused to motorists, but soon we will direct the MMOPL officials to install halogen lights under the stations, so that pedestrians and motorists don’t face any problem.”

>>Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR)
After visiting JVLR on late Thursday night, it was observed that driving on this arterial road that connects the WEH to EEH is not only a nightmare for motorists, but this road may be the worst to drive on during monsoons — especially in the night — as street lights at many locations, especially on the flyovers, are not working.

Driving on this road in the dark is also risky for two-wheelers, as there are potholes at some places and due to the non-functioning street lamps chances of bikers getting hit by cars from behind increase.

It should also be noted that MiD DAY had earlier reported on how streetlights near the L&T and Gandhi Nagar junction flyovers have not been working for the last two years.

“For the last three years, I have been using this stretch to reach Mulund, but streetlights at L&T junction and Gandhi Nagar junction have not been working since then. I don’t know what the authorities are doing. What’s the use of spending huge amounts of money in constructing roads when the streetlights are not working?” said Shreepad Gawde, a motorist.

When contacted Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) officials were not available for comment.

>>Eastern Express Highway (EEH)
Motorist using the EEH to go towards Mulund, Thane, Nashik don’t face too many problems on the stretch between Suman Nagar Junction and Vikhroli. But at various places on this highway, the road is riddled with potholes.

The problem starts after motorists reach the EEH from JVLR. When motorists coming from JVLR take a left and go towards Mulund, it was observed that streetlights were missing for at least 200 metres.

When we visited the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road Junction flyover from where the road goes towards Airoli, we found that lights were not working on this stretch, thus making it a danger zone, as heavy vehicles use this road to reach Navi Mumbai from Mulund.

Public Works Department (PWD) responds
PWD Engineer Rajan Javanjal, said, “PWD only maintains the road, and it is not our duty to maintain the lights. It is the responsibility of the municipal body.”

>>Sion-Panvel Highway
When we visited this highway, we were shocked to see that there were no lights on the all-important bridge passing over Thane creek that connects Mumbai with Navi Mumbai.

More than 90 per cent of the lights on this bridge were not functioning and what adds to the problem is the absence of road reflectors.

After crossing the toll plaza at Navi Mumbai it was also observed that there was not a single light working on the Vashi and Nerul flyover, which is maintained by Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL), the toll-collecting agency.

It should be noted that this is a crucial road that connects Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, Goa and Pune, and many vehicles including long distance buses and trucks use this highway.

MEPL responds
Jayant Mhaiskar of Mumbai Entry Point Ltd said, “I will have to check before commenting on anything. But, I can assure that if at all the streetlights on the flyovers which MEPL maintains are not working, then we would see to it that those lights are also functioning.”  

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