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Heavy vehicles opting to drive in neutral on bypass highway slope could cause mishaps, says Suhas Chitnis

Pune: The rising number of accidents and fatalities on the Katraj– Dehu road bypass highway has left residents in the neighbourhood to avoid the “deadly” stretch
By Dheeraj Bengrut
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 09:41 PM IST

Pune: The rising number of accidents and fatalities on the Katraj– Dehu road bypass highway has left residents in the neighbourhood to avoid the “deadly” stretch. Suhas Chitnis, Pune project director of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and responsible for the infrastructural work of the bypass highway, shares the steps taken to ensure safe travel on this stretch.

What would you say about the accidents taking place on the Katraj–Dehu Road accidents? What steps NHAI is taking to prevent accidents on the highway?

We are taking steps to better road infrastructure on this stretch of the bypass highway to prevent accidents. Work is going on of road surface markings, curve paintings. More signage boards will soon be installed at various spots on the highway. So, we are taking all necessary steps to improve the infrastructure on the highway and prevent accidents. I personally have visited the recent accident spots along with the traffic police officials, and we reviewed the stretch and have chalked out steps that need to be done best to prevent mishaps.

What is the reason for rising number of accidents taking place on the new Katraj tunnel to Navale bridge chowk stretch?

While many blame the highway gradient on this stretch for accidents, it is not the reason. The highway road gradient is built within permissible limits and accordingly other infrastructural safety measures have been taken. It has been observed that heavy vehicles and trucks driving on the slope on neutral gear lead to accidents, as the heavy vehicle goes out of control. Brakes of these vehicles sometimes fail. So, there is a need for more efficient enforcement and action on such vehicles. I appreciate the Pune traffic police department pro-activeness as they have started taking action on vehicles that violate the traffic rules.

What would you appeal to commuters passing through the bypass highway?

The motorists using the bypass highway should not drive on neutral gear or switch off their vehicles on the slope. It is risky to drive in neutral, check the speed limit and do not risk your life and others who are using the stretch. NHAI is working hard to improve the infrastructure on the highway, but people should also follow traffic rules.

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