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Lack of streetlights on Delhi-Gurgaon e-way leads to accidents

Commuters using the service roads of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway have been silently suffering because of the lack of streetlights and poor condition of the road.

kherki daula toll plaza Updated: Apr 30, 2016 13:41 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
Hindustan Times
Kherki Daula,Delhi-Gurgaon expressway,streetlights
While those on bikes and cars are able to manage, the pedestrians are the ones who suffer the most.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Thousands of commuters, who have been using the service roads of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, have been silently suffering because of the lack of streetlights and poor condition of the road.

While those on motorcycles and cars somehow manage, it is the pedestrians that suffer the most. The lanes don’t have any footpaths either. Being a freeway, there is no provision of streetlights on the service roads though lights have been fixed at crucial junctions.

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The condition of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway on the Delhi stretch is much better compared to Gurgaon, which has witnessed almost 80% urbanisation on both sides since the inception of the road in 2008.

For women, it is an even bigger problem as the roads become unsafe. “Our daughters and women from the village avoid the dark stretches as these are unsafe. There is no light at the underpass opposite Haldirams and during the night it is a no go zone even for men,” said Rakesh Yadav of Kherki Daula.

The stretch from Kherki Daula to Rajiv is not just dark, but in bad shape too, making it difficult for commuters to negotiate.

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Vikram Singh, a dumper driver said that he avoids service roads in the evening. “There are large potholes and these are not visible in the night,” he complained.

Poor lighting is one reason why the number of accidents is high on the service lanes of the expressway. Lack of footpaths, underpasses and adequate pedestrian bridges is one of the reasons that the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has witnessed almost 500 deaths in the past eight years.

At important junctions on the expressway that include Rajiv Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Iffco Chowk and the Signature Tower, the lights are not adequate, footpaths are not connected and pelican lights for pedestrians are missing.

Sonia Sharma, a resident, says that taking a shared cab, an auto or even a personal cab is risky. “I sometimes wait for a cab at the Sector 31 cut and there is no proper bus or auto shelter there,” she says. Lack of police presence after the sun sets and poor lighting also adds to the inconvenience of the commuters.

More than 100 illegal access roads have been opened towards the service road, which slows down traffic and cause accidents.

Dr Sewa Ram, a transport expert, says that streetlights along the service roads should have been a must in such a large project. “There is need to treat the road as an urban structure rather than a freeway,” he said.

ASI Devender Kumar, who is posted at Kherki Daula, said that service roads on both sides had poor lighting during the night and the narrow potholed road on the Darbaripur side ensured long jams.

Poor lighting and poor police presence is also an invitation to the criminals. A number of car jackers and criminal gangs have been operating on the stretch.

As far as highway operators are concerned, the operators claim they have repaired 98% of the lights as per the agreement. “We have repaired 98% of the lights and replaced old cables and switches,” said S Raghuraman, CEO, MCEPL.

However, the real issue is that the lighting on the service road, despite being a problem, is beyond the scope of work of both the concessionaire as well as the highway operator.

To resolve the problem, the highway authority had roped in the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon to foot the bill for installation and maintenance of streetlights on both sides of the service roads but that project has also been delayed due to unknown reasons. “We had initially made the plan for installing streetlights and submitted it to the MCG. The corporation had invited tenders but we don’t know what happened after that,” said Raghuraman.

First Published: Apr 29, 2016 11:46 IST