Thursday, September 30, 2004

Highway & nightmare: Welcome to Mysore Road

Times of India

The danger of accidents on the Bangalore-Mysore highway has been accentuated due to commencement of work to make it a four-way. The lack of proper road signage and safety measures on the highway during the four-laning work has made the road a potential death trap. Always a treacherous road, due to the heavy traffic flow, the highway has now become an even worse nightmare, especially at night. Motorists’ nightmare begins at Kengeri. The road has been cut on one track for widening and relaying, which leaves huge ditches all along the road, till Mandya. Danger lurks every inch of the treacherous stretch with no reflectors or signboards to indicate the width of the road. While trucks and buses speed on the narrow stretch, two-wheelers and cars are forced to make way. They run the risk of being pushed into the roadside ditches, which are over five feet deep in some places. “

Our misery increases when it rains and there is slush on the road. We have to make dangerous manoeuvres to avoid skidding and falling under a truck’s wheels. One mistake and we could plunge into a ditch several feet deep,’’ says a biker, Sanjay, riding through Ramnagar. At night, it’s a more harrowing experience since motorists are left at the mercy of their headlights. At many places, there are no signs to indicate the road has been dug up and there are a few makeshift retaining walls which are less than six inches high. The only signs alerting motorists about the road work are sandbags placed haphazardly along the narrow road and strips of red tape drawn on poles, along some stretches. There are hardly any reflectors and signboards to warn motorists of danger all along the stretch. In some places, the road narrows into a rubble stretch and can accommodate only one bus or truck at a time. There are no signboards to indicate such spots. Even before the four-laning was taken up in December, 2003, the 139- km highway was treacherous claiming over 350 lives and injuring nearly 1,500 since 2002. The current four-laning work is expected to be completed by June 2005. It’s going to be a bumpy ride till then, right through Dasara too. A Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDC) official admits that the safety precautions are not adequate. At a recent meeting with the engineering consultant and contracting agency, directions were given to appoint safety officers to take necessary measures. “Some signboards were put up during the ongoing work. But they were also stolen at night by miscreants,’’ he added.

The 139-km Bangalore-Mysore highway being paved is a death trap with lack of safety measures Motorists have a harrowing experience at night and especially when it rains Sandbags placed haphazardly and a red-colour tape drawn along a few stretches are the only hazard signs Travel time has increased to over four hours, especially at night and on weekends. Work on the Rs 300-crore fourlaning project began in December 2003 and is expected to be completed by June 2005. Till then, it’s a bumpy ride.


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