Besides speeding by drivers, lack of safety measures is leading to accidents
Every morning, a senior official of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) makes a prayer. “I pray that nothing should go wrong on the PVNR Expressway, that there be no accidents and those behind the steering are careful,” he confesses.
The tragic accident at Sholapur involving a private bus from the city brings into focus the two high-speed road accesses here – PVNR Expressway and the Outer Ring Road (ORR). A series of accidents, most of them fatal, has got the ORR dubious reputation of being a high-speed death-trap.
Series of accidents
The 158-km long ORR has seen quite a few accidents including those resulting in the deaths of cricketer Mohd.Azharudddin's son, Mohd.Ayazuddin, film actor Kota Srinivasa Rao's son, Kota Prasad and politician Komatireddy Venkatreddy's son, Prateek Reddy.
Having created high speed access such as the eight -lane ORR and PVNR Expressway, the authorities say that these should be put to use judiciously.
“Such wide roads are meant for smooth and faster transition from one location to another and not for speeding unwisely to end up in a disaster,” says the official.
Fingers are also pointed at the authorities for failure to ensure safety aspects on the part of ORR that have been completed and made available for the traffic.
Though two-wheelers have been banned on these stretches, some do find their way on to it causing risk not only for themselves but to others.
Even after the disasters that occurred here, the mandatory toll gates that could block the risk-elements, two wheelers and those driving on the wrong side, have not been worked out.
Officials say that the issue of setting up manual tolling ran into some tangles and a decision was awaited from the government.
Lack of adequate and appropriate patrolling of these stretches has been an issue. In the wake of Prateek Reddy's road accident, Home Minister, P.Sabitha Indra Reddy had convened a meeting of all wings concerned and an action plan was chalked out.
Proposals included police outposts on every 25 km stretch, 10 patrolling vehicles and equipping them with speed guns and other electronic devices to check those driving beyond the stipulated limit of 120 kmph. Though the concept is yet to fall in place fully, officials say the measures could act as a deterrent to some extent only.
“There are 3Es to be followed and they are Engineering, Enforcement and Education,” says another official. “With the ORR, there are no issues with engineering aspect and for enforcement; police cannot monitor each and every vehicle on the stretch. Only when drivers are educated enough on safe driving aspects, stick to their speed limits and drive carefully, the risks can be eliminated,” he adds.