In the last few months, despite the lockdown, Mumbai-Pune expressway reported several accident cases. Though the reason for accidents on the expressway was many, one of the reasons for accidents in the ghat is the unavailability of streetlights.
In an attempt to reduce the number of ghat accidents, the Maharashtra Highway Police (MHP) department along with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will upgrade its safety arrangement by installing street lights in ghat sections of the expressway.
In May 2020, 46 accidents were recorded on the expressway including fatal serious and minor injuries. 138 mishaps were also recorded without any injuries. But considering the last three months of lockdown, the number of mishaps have been comparatively less.
Ever since the expressway was built, this will be the first time street lights are being installed on the way. The expressway is officially named Yashwantrao Chavan expressway and became operational in the year 2002. It is India's first six-lane high-speed way that joins Mumbai to Pune.
The reason for lower visibility linked to road mishaps came to light after MSRDC conducted a survey where officials recorded the reasons for mishaps.
Vijay Patil, superintendent of police, Maharashtra Highway Police, said told a media publishing house, “Monsoon brings heavy rains to the ghat section on the expressway and hence, we conducted a pre-monsoon survey with the help of MSRDC. Street lights will be installed along the entire ghat section of the expressway for better visibility in the region. The estimated cost of the project is ~ 7.5 crore. Street lights are being installed on the expressway for the first time. In the ghat section, tunnel work will continue simultaneously, but it will take another two years to complete and we want to reduce the number of accidents in the coming two years.”
According to the plan, the state highway police and MSRDC expects the actual work of installing to begin in the next couple of months.
These lights will be installed between Khandala and Khopoli on a 10km patch.
“In our study of accident patterns in the ghat section, it was revealed that most of the accidents happen when vehicles ram into the motorist in front of them. One of the reasons behind this could be that the driver had not been able to judge the exact distance between the vehicles and hence, street lights can provide good visibility to them,” he added.
According to Patil's records, in the year 2019, the expressway recoded 22 fatal accidents in the ghat section.
Previously, MSRDC had installed blinkers, reflectors and rumbler stips on the ghat section on trial bases. This yielded positive results according to officials.