Fatal mishap on Sherpur Chowk prompts NHAI to get cracking on foot overbridge
Nearly two weeks after three persons, including a pedestrian, were killed in an accident near the busy Sherpur Chowk, the National Highway Authority of India has expedited completion of the nearby foot overbridge, which has been hanging in balance for months.
The iron structure of the overpass was ready, but gathering dust next to the road for long. Following the fatal mishap, it was recently erected and is expected to be made accessible to pedestrians by December end, to help them safely cross the National Highway-44.
“A report on the number of accidents that took place near the Sherpur Chowk in the last three years was tabled before the NHAI officials, following which directions were issued to build a foot overbridge there,” said Navdeep Asija, traffic adviser to the state government, who also carried out a survey on black spots on NH-44, which connects Jalandhar to Panipat.
Member of Punjab Road Safety Council, Rahul Verma, said the absence of a foot overbridge posed grave danger to pedestrians wishing to reach either side of the highway near Sherpur Chowk.
“Work on the pedestrian overpass was lying unfinished, and after much pressure and persuasion, its completion has started now. Still, it does not feature a ramp for the convenience of the elderly and cyclists. However, we have been told that it will be added to the design,” Verma added.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Gurdev Singh had recently also highlighted 91 black spots on NH-44 that require immediate attention. “Among these, 12 black spots are the deadliest, including the one at Sherpur Chowk, where hundreds of pedestrians risk their lives each day to reach either side of the highway. Besides, we had also demanded foot overbridge with ramp on Tibba Road, Jail Road and near Green Land Public School. NHAI has been advised to take certain road safety initiatives for the rectification of black spots,” the ACP said.
Apart from these stretches, pedestrian overpasses are also required at various spots in Basti Jodhewal, Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh that also have the busy highway passing through.
For Satish Chauhan, a resident of the Salem Tabri area, risking life is a routine. “We have no option. There is no subway or pedestrian overpass nearby. So, each day we scale the fencing to reach the other side of the highway,” he said.
Without giving much details, NHAI project director for NH-44 Virendra Kumar said foot overbridges were coming up at many locations as part of the highway project that started in September 2009.
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