Apart from taking wrong side, careless overtaking and stopping at will are causing accidents on ORR
Cruising at high speed on the eight-lane Outer Ring Road (ORR) is turning the prestigious facility that rings the city beyond its outskirts into a death trap for some. The recurrence of accidents, most of them fatal, has sparked harsh criticism from various quarters.
The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), which is executing the project, has initiated various steps to ensure safety on ORR and is even contemplating making short films on safe driving practices on fast lanes.
Officials argue that facilities such as ORR should be used with certain discipline, and that drivers need to be conscious of the do’s and don’ts.
The upper speed limit on ORR has been fixed at 120 kmph, but many vehicles break this barrier, and careless overtaking, taking the wrong side and stopping at will are causing accidents.
Despite being prohibited, in the initial days, two and three-wheelers used to find their way onto these fast lanes, and some early accidents were blamed on them. However, the introduction of toll collection on the three phases of ORR has enabled to check the problem.
There has been criticism about the way the stretches are left without monitoring that encourages drivers to increase speed at will and resort to illegal parking at non-designated spots.
A series of meetings between the ORR authorities and the Cyberabad Police have decided in favour of equipping police with the required paraphernalia such as patrol vehicles and speed guns.
According to HMDA Commissioner Neerabh Kumar Prasad, each of the Build-Own-Transfer (BOT) operators who are involved in the making of the ORR will provide a highway patrol vehicle, and wherever the BOT operator is not involved, the urban planning body will take care of it.
These vehicles will be equipped with speed guns, too. The paraphernalia will be in place, but, argues Mr. Prasad, unless the police department deploys adequate manpower to patrol the stretches, it will not be of much use.
“We have been insisting on deployment of the required police presence to keep speed under control on ORR. In fact, we sought a policeman to be posted at each of the entry and exit points for random check on issues such as drunk driving. We are ready to provide suitable space for them at toll administration buildings also,” he says.
The HMDA will soon be introducing the Highway Traffic Management System (HTMS) on ORR for which a proposal has already been sent to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is the funding agency.
Under HTMS, the facility will be equipped with CCTV surveillance, speed guns, emergency call box, vehicle detector system, variable message signs, control room and a fleet of ambulances.
“JICA has made a few suggestions to the project proposal document we had submitted. These suggestions are being incorporated, and we will send them back for approval,” Mr. Prasad says. Once the approval is received, the process of tendering will be taken up, he adds.