Close to 500 people have lost their lives on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway since 2008, when the 27-km speedway was thrown open to the public.
According to records of the expressway operator, though fatalities on the stretch have reduced over the last eight years – 115 in 2008 to 30 in 2015 – accidents involving two-wheelers were high. About 30% of the accidents reported in 2015 were that of two-wheelers.
According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), two and three-wheelers are not allowed to ply on the expressway. But, the Gurgaon traffic police have been unable to enforce the ban due to staff crunch. Policing the expressway and preventing two wheelers from entering the stretch would strain the police’s already thin resources, officers said.
“Safety on the expressway was more about self awareness and discipline rather than police manning each and every entry and exit point on the highway. But, we will soon launch an awareness drive to sensitise motorists in this regard. Our manpower is also likely to increase with the Community Policing 2.0 programme. This will improve the situation on the expressway and across Gurgaon,” Navdeep Singh Virk, police commissioner of Gurgaon, said.
Navneet Yadav, CEO of Skylark, and S Raghuraman, CEO of Millennium City Expressways Private Limited, the concessionaire, said fatalities on the expressway could be reduced further if the police and highway authorities found a way to stop the entry of two-wheelers.
Approximately 3.5 lakh vehicles ply on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway every day. The 27-km speedway is a crucial stretch of National Highway 8.
In 2015, the expressway saw 30 deaths, six more than the previous year. Records show a drastic reduction in fatalities since 2008 when 115 people lost their lives commuting on the speedway. Most accidents were reported from the defunct Sirhaul toll plaza, Shankar Chowk, Signature Tower, service lanes along Rajiv Chowk, the u-turn at Kherki Daula and Hero Honda Chowk, according to Skylark’s records.
The expressway operator said it has been chalking out several measures to reduce the number of accidents. It has initiated a safety training programme and introduced a vehicle tracking system to check the movement highway patrol vehicles, no name a few measures.
“We are conducting quarterly training for our staff and are monitoring vehicles real time through the vehicle tracking system. We have also deployed marshals at all entry and exit points to monitor traffic,” Yadav said.
The firm is also in the process of identifying infrastructure gaps in the accident-prone areas. “We have closed all unauthorised crossings and installed media grills. The recently set up highway control room is coming handy in managing traffic and ensuring discipline on the expressway,” Yadav said.