It is a 27.7-kilometre-long stretch and pedestrians wishing to cross the road have only two foot-over-bridges and two subways on the entire stretch. And a 5-km stretch separates the subways.
On this highway of death, one life is lost every fourth day but the authorities are still toying with plans to reduce the number of accidents on the highway of death. The National Highways Authority of India said it would take at least six more months for five more over-bridges to come up.
Does this mean deaths on the stretch would continue? Experts said there are some immediate but radical steps that can be taken to bring down the death count till pedestrian facilities come up.
“There should be physical barriers on the median all along the stretch. They should be high enough to deter pedestrians from jumping over,” said P.K. Sarkar of the School of Planning and Architecture.
He said there should be traffic marshals at vulnerable spots to stop pedestrians from crossing over. “Marshals should be given authority to penalise pedestrians and cyclists. At the Ontario expressway in Canada, pedestrians are fined $10 for crossing over.”
Nalin Sinha of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy said, “Speed limit should come down from 90 kmph to 50-60 kmph and there should be traffic intersections at vulnerable spots to allow pedestrians to cross over,” he said.
“NHAI has already committed a blunder by not building pedestrian facilities along with the expressway.”
A spokesman of DS Constructions claimed the number of patrol vehicles on the expressway has gone up and there are 500 marshals deployed 24X7.