City’s carelessly constructed speed breakers raise hackles | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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City’s carelessly constructed speed breakers raise hackles

ByJeet Mashru
Dec 08, 2022 01:23 AM IST

Vital though the issue is, it is not taken seriously enough. On social media platforms like Twitter, where citizens reach out to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other authorities, one of the issues that remains unattended to or does not receive any response is that of speed breakers

Mumbai’s roads being dug up or barricaded on account of the numerous ongoing infrastructure projects is a perennial challenge faced by citizens. The other, almost equally problematic one, is of speed breakers.

When HT went on-ground, it found several potholed speed breakers that were creating traffic jams because vehicles had to navigate through the potholes. (HT PHOTO)
When HT went on-ground, it found several potholed speed breakers that were creating traffic jams because vehicles had to navigate through the potholes. (HT PHOTO)

Vital though the issue is, it is not taken seriously enough. On social media platforms like Twitter, where citizens reach out to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other authorities, one of the issues that remains unattended to or does not receive any response is that of speed breakers.

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One particular Twitter handle called @RoadsOfMumbai has for the last one year been raising the issue of the substandard quality of speed breakers in various parts of Mumbai. The page has shared videos of drives conducted on various roads to demonstrate how there are no signboards warning drivers of an impending speed breaker and neither are the speed breakers painted with stripes as mandated by guidelines.

A spokesperson for the page told HT in an email interview that most speed breakers were unpainted. “Also, at most places, there are no signboards,” he said. “This can damage vehicles and lead to accidents, as motorists might have to brake at the last second. Therefore, it was necessary to raise this issue on social media.”

Another problem, added the spokesperson, was that there were no standard materials used in the construction of speed breakers. “At some places they’re made of concrete or asphalt and at others plastic,” he said. “Once damaged, they are not repaired for months, sometimes years. At many places, speed breakers are placed just before the traffic signal. This is even more dangerous, as a car moving at high speed at the green light could collide with someone or something, seeing a speed breaker at the last moment.”

When HT went on-ground, it found several potholed speed breakers that were creating traffic jams because vehicles had to navigate through the potholes. The speed breaker opposite Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle, was made of asphalt on a concrete road. Another one at Kurla was only partially constructed with no stripes on it or anything to warn motorists of its presence.

Experts say that in a city like Mumbai, which has heavy pedestrian movement, speed breakers are a must. “Pedestrian signals are often observed to be on flashing yellow, more often than not rendering them mere symbolic elements for traffic-calming,” said Dhawal Ashar, program head of the Urban Transport & Road Safety for World Resources Institute, India. “Speed humps, on the other hand, are physical features installed right on the carriageway and therefore always work. They are perhaps the most efficient tool to calm traffic.”

However, added Ashar, how well speed humps would work depended entirely on how well they were laid and maintained. “By now, most places that have a lot of pedestrian- or vehicle-crossing demand already have speed humps installed, however that may have happened,” he said. “We must take advantage of this and quickly build an inventory so that these speed humps can be managed effectively.”

An official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation agreed that the maintenance of speed breakers was very important. “However, roads are constructed by one department and speed breakers are constructed and maintained by another,” he said. “Hence, there is no uniformity. All speed breakers are constructed only after the traffic department has given permission. However, sometimes the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) guidelines are not followed.”

Advocate Trivankumar Karnani, founder of the Mumbai North Central District Forum, a citizen welfare group, said, “Non-standardised speed breakers are extremely dangerous for pregnant women, patients, senior citizens and people with slip disc or spinal problems. All speed breakers need to be of a standard material and height across the city and strictly follow the IRC guidelines. What we have instead is just haphazard construction of speed breakers. There also need to be periodic checks and maintenance of damaged speed breakers in the city.”

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