Global experts will be in city next week to highlight the fact that it not just tyre bursts or errant drivers that are leading to the increasing number of accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, but poor road engineering and faulty angles of inclines and gradients on the road leading vehicles to go into a spin.
The increasing deaths on this 93km motorway have now invited international attention. Jean Todt, president of the 109-year-old Paris-based Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), will visit Mumbai in early February to take the issue up with the CM.
The FIA, for the first time in India, will also study the engineering faults on the expressway with the help of International Road Assessment Programme, a London-based charity. This will be done with the help of a specially-designed vehicle that will arrive in Mumbai by next week.
Nitin Dossa of the Western India Automobile Association said he will accompany Todt to see CM Prithviraj Chavan. “The problem is not just with driving, speeding or the vehicle. The road is to blame too. There seems to be something wrong with the quality of engineering along the curves and turns. Someone must be held responsible for this,” Dossa told DNA.
There have been more than 840 deaths on the expressway in the past six years. Truckers and motorists driving heavy vehicles said the expressway lacks basic facilities for heavy drivers.
“Drivers of heavy trucks and trailers need to take breaks and frequent rests. There are hardly any terminal points or resting places along this stretch. It adds to their weariness and subsequent mistakes while driving,” Bal Malkit Singh, president of All-India Motor Transport Association.
MSRDC officials said they are in the process of improving certain stretches. “An 8-km-long tunnel, parallel bridges and a heliport has been planned to change the expressway’s layout.
The Rs2,600-crore project involves setting up of two sets of parallel bridges of 865 metres and 810 metres (both ways), two sets of tunnels of 1,620 metres and 7,755 metres, extending the expressway’s overall length up to 100km. A heliport will be constructed at Ozharade village.