The 70km stretch between Vapi in Gujarat and Manor-Palghar in Maharashtra has been in news since September due to the death of former Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and his friend in an accident. A recent report prepared by the International Road Federation (IRF) on the infamous stretch indicated that it has more than 30 road safety hazards.
After Mistry’s fatal accident, Geneva-based IRF said it will conduct a road safety audit on the accident-prone section of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway to identify and remove deficiencies in that section. IRF carried out a road safety audit based on the Indian Road Congress (IRC) standards and submitted the report to the National Highway Authority of India and the ministry of road transport and highways.
The purpose of the detailed audit was to highlight road safety issues on the stretch and several universal issues with the highways.
“Spot analysis indicated two major factors – the bridge got narrowed from three lanes to two, and there were no signs warning the drivers about it. Moreover, the parapet of the bridge had no crash barriers,” KK Kapila, president emeritus, IRF, said, adding, “But it’s not all – the road stretch was found to have major issues ranging from lack of clear signs, sudden narrowing, roadside kerbs and sharp bands. A majority of the observations have universal application on other stretches, too.”
The IRF officials have advised the use of hazard markers, rumble bumpers, and installation of crash barriers at the spots which are protruding on the road with clear signs including edge line markings, chevron hatch marking on the shoulder and yellow and black marks on the bridge parapet wall.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data, over 1.55 lakh lives were lost in road crashes across India in 2021—an average of 426 daily or 18 every single hour—the highest death figures recorded in any calendar year so far.