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Gurgaon: Dense fog reduces visibility, brings city traffic to a crawl

Such was the extent to which visibility dropped on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway that motorists had to flip on hazard lights on their vehicles to avoid mishaps

gurgaon Updated: Jan 03, 2018 23:07 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times
Gurgaon news,Gurugram news,Gurgaon traffic
With streetlights on many stretches switched off in the morning, commuters had a tough time navigating the streets through the dense fog.(Parveen Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Traffic crawled in the city on a misty Wednesday morning, as motorists drove at a snail’s pace through the thick layer of fog. Visibility dropped alarmingly as a thick blanket of fog shrouded the city, prompting commuters to take caution and reach their destinations late.

Foggy conditions have been prevailing in the city over the last four days.

“Despite setting out before the rush hour, it took me more than 90 minutes to make the journey from Saket (in Delhi) to DLF Phase 4, owing to a thick blanket of fog near the Gurgaon border. On better days, weather wise, this journey usually takes me around 45 minutes,” Manoj Sharma, a resident of Saket, said.

Such was the extent to which visibility dropped on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway that motorists had to flip on hazard lights on their vehicles to navigate the streets.

“I could barely see anything barely metres away and had to switch on hazard lights on my vehicle to make my way and avoid a collision. The thick layer of fog that dragged down visibility stretched from Dhaula Kuan (in Delhi) till Rajiv Chowk (in Gurgaon). I was anxious through the journey and it was scary experience. Till such time the visibility improves, I won’t venture out unless its urgent,” Archana Dhar, a resident of Civil Lines, said.

Some residents claimed that lack of functional streetlights on roads during the morning hours made commuting through the thick fog a risky proposition.

“Whenever fog descends on the streets, the authorities need to ensure that streetlights are switched on till late morning hours to ensure motorists and commuters in general have no trouble navigating the roads. While making my journey today, I found that streetlights on some stretches had been switched off by 6am,” Aniket Kapoor, a resident of DLF 5, said.

Read I Bracing for fog, Gurgaon police seeks road safety measures

With fog continuing to prevail in the city since Saturday, Gurgaon police recently put out an alert on the social media urging residents to remain alert to the situation and take necessary precautions.

“It is fogged out on Gurugram roads. Please be cautious while driving (sic),” the Gurgaon police posted on Twitter.

Few experts also highlighted the need for engineering changes on roads to tackle the fog.

“Weather conditions are unavoidable, be it fog or rain. It is, therefore, important to design roads and city streets keeping such conditions in mind so that crashes are at a minimum and no lives are lost.Basic safety measures, such as good functional streetlights, reflective road markings and signage and blinkers or cat-eyes are the key to making the streets safe on misty mornings,” Amit Bhatt, director, Integrated Transport, WRI India, said.

Last month, the Gurgaon police wrote to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) asking it to plan for foggy mornings and ensure fresh road markings and installation of blinker lights, road stud reflectors and signage on the expressway.

In response to a query by Hindustan Times on steps to tackle fog, the NHAI said it had undertaken necessary measures to deal with indifferent weather.

“The smart LED street lighting project which the MCG is looking to launch from March onwards, will involve a centralised control and monitoring system from where all the streetlights can be turned off and on. This will eradicate the issue of deputing an official on the ground and lights could be turned on and off after assessing visibility,” V Umashankar, MCG commissioner, said.

Quizzed on its fog preparedness, NHAI project director Ashok Sharma said, “MCEPL (NHAI’s concessionaire) has undertaken adequate measures and has briefed the police on the same as well.”

BOX: Measures by authority to tackle fog

NHAI: Ensure surface markings, blinker lights, road stud reflectors and signage on roads and expressway to enable commuters to journey safe

Gurgaon police: Send out alerts to commuters via social media on low visibility and advise them to take caution

MCG: Keep streetlights switched on until late morning hours to ensure higher visibility in areas in its jurisdiction.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 23:07 IST