Ill-lit, potholed, high-speed road in Gurugram evokes concern
The 6.3-kilometre-long Golf Course Extension Road (GCER), where an SUV ran over two people on Sunday night, is an important road as it connects the Southern Peripheral Road and Sohna Road with the Gurugram-Faridabad Road and the Golf Course Road. Despite the high traffic volume it witnesses throughout the day, issues such as poor illumination, crater-sized potholes, illegal exits to residential areas on high-speed stretches, and lack of speed-calming measures, plague this stretch, making it dangerous for all road users. To compound the problem, unkempt undergrowth on the median creates blind spots for commuters who are unable to spot vehicles turning to join the carriageway.
“I prefer driving on the extreme left of both carriageways as it reduces my chances of colliding with traffic merging in from sector or village roads. Besides, the stretch is unlit and one cannot see approaching vehicles until they are dangerously close; then there are unkempt trees and shrubs. Drive on this stretch at night is scary,” Nirvana Country resident Abhishek Dayal said.
Two traffic signals, near Ghata and Vatika Chowk, are partly covered by trees making it difficult to see if they are green or red.
Another issue raised is ill-placed exits for sector roads on high-speed corridors which forces motorists to make sharp turns or brake hard when a vehicle suddenly joins the carriageway.
“It seems the exits have been made on road’s high-speed corridors without thinking their location through. One can only spot signboards at the last minute, affecting speed moderation. Authorities should either install speed-breakers or traffic signals before such exits,” Sector 50 resident Prithvi Sen said.
GMDA chief executive officer V Umashankar said an immediate solution is not likely as they are redesigning the stretch between Ghata and Vatika Chowk to make it signal-free. “The GMDA plans to widen the GCER to six lanes and make it signal-free. All exits and intersections will be closed. The design has been finalized,” he said.
Umashankar said the MCG, responsible for installing streetlights, will add lights only after the road has been widened. “The existing streetlights will also be removed for widening,” he said.
The decision to widen the road was taken in October last year when the GCER started developing potholes 3-4 feet in depth. GMDA did structural integrity tests and found that the existing road width was not sufficient to support the volume of traffic on it, leading to its disintegration.
Experts, however, were critical of GMDA’s proposal stating that it overlooks many aspects and may make the stretch even more vulnerable to accidents.
Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator with Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ), said that widening roads and making them signal-free addresses congestion, but it adversely affects cyclists and pedestrians. “The Golf Course Road, a signal-free stretch which was recently widened to 16 lanes, is a prime example of poor road designing as it is constructed keeping only automobiles in mind. Pedestrians have little-to-no avenues for crossing roads leaving them vulnerable against high-speed traffic. GCER’s new design will increase the accident rate. The design needs a rethink,” she said.