No signage, poor lighting make Sion-Panvel highway dangerousUpdated: Jan 25, 2020 00:14 IST
A total of 29 deaths were reported on Sion-Panvel highway, the vital link to Mumbai and Pune.
The 19-kilometre stretch passes through Juinagar, Sanpada, Nerul, Belapur, Kalamboli and Panvel.
The busy highway saw 112 accidents in 2019.
“The Sion-Panvel highway has seen 200 deaths between 2016 and 2018 due to potholes. Even as the public works department has started concretising the stretch, accidents are still common as there are no proper signage and proper boards for directions,” said Deepak Jain, an activist and resident of Kharghar.
“The highway also has poor lighting at many stretches. This affects motorists while taking a turn,” added Jain.
The Thane-Belapur Road, which connects the Sion-Panvel highway, is the second most dangerous road, recording 17 fatal accidents in 2019.
The route recorded the largest number of accidents in the city with 130 cases.
“Our findings showed that although most accidents occurred on Thane-Belapur stretch, it reported fewer fatalities as compared to Sion-Panvel highway. We have deployed additional traffic policemen from five divisions to curb accidents and reduce fatalities,” said Sunil Lokhande, deputy commissioner of police, traffic.
The unevenly designed Thane-Belapur road is accident-prone.
While some parts of the roads are widely spreading to four lanes, they merge into three lanes or two lanes in some patches.
Police also suspect it is one of the reasons for the more number of accidents on the road.
Police said Palm Beach Road is one of the most accident-prone stretches as out of 32 accidents reported last year, it has a higher fatalities. Ten fatal accidents were reported on the route.
Officials said youngsters indulging in rash driving and speeding on Palm Beach Road have increased the accident count.
To tackle accidents, the police are relying on visible and invisible policing. The three roads connecting prime residential areas and having higher traffic volume are managed by five traffic divisions.
More than 40 police personnel from Vashi, Turbhe, CBD Belapur, Kharghar and Kalamboli traffic police divisions man the three routes in shifts.
“Visible policing acts as a deterrent to rash driving and speeding. Deploying traffic personnel will curb such cases,” said a constable from Kalamboli traffic unit.
Authorities are also taking help of automatic number plate registration (ANPR) cameras to check traffic violations.
Currently, there are 15 cameras strategically placed along the three stretches to keep an eye on cases of speeding. The cameras help police issue challans to speeding motorists and bikers.
However, police said they want more cameras for better traffic management on those stretches where it is difficult to deploy personnel 24x7.
“Currently, a proposal for the ANPR cameras and the CCTV cameras is with the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. We want at least 100 ANPR cameras across the city to swiftly deal with cases of rash driving. It will help us reduce fatalities and accidents drastically,” added Lokhande.