Wrong pillar in Devale gets safety ropes

Accident Spot Left Unprotected
The four youths who died in the expressway accident near Lonavla on Wednesday could have been saved had the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) put the safety ropes or crash barriers in front of the pillar that needed protection.Five women from the city had died at the same spot after their car crashed into the pillar of Devale bridge on July 31, 2014. The Highway Safety Patrol (HSP) had then shot a letter to MSRDC requesting installation of Bifren ropes in front of the bridge pillar to avoid more fatal accidents. The MSRDC acted, but, installed the ropes and crash barriers near the pillar located between the Mumbai and Pune corridors instead of the pillar where the accident had occurred.

The mistake came to light on Wednesday . The driver of the car, which had the four youths inside, crashed into the same pillar which was left unprotected. Omkar Pravin Mancharkar (23) of Shivajinagar, Rajvirsingh Yogendrasingh Thakur (27) of Pashan, Ajinkya Karkhanis (24) and Kunal Sanjay Nigudkar (24) of Old Sangvi died in the accident.Imran Yunus Shaikh (25), the driver, suffered serious injuries. Shaikh has been admitted to a private hospital in Nigdi.

A senior HSP official told TOI that there is a gradual turn towards right at the spot and the pillar is located immediately after that. “If a driver feels drowsy , he may bang the vehicle directly into the pillar instead of taking the gradual right turn. It is not a sharp turn,“ the official said.

The HSP had studied the reasons of the earlier accident.They concluded that the damage could be minimized if Bifren ropes or crash barriers are installed near the pillar which will arrest the approach of vehicles towards the pillar.The HSP sent a letter to the MSRDC to take corrective measures to avert accidents on the spot. Subsequently , several minor mishaps were reported on the spot, but the Wednesday’s accident was the worst.

The HSP authorities received a letter from the MSRDC authorities in which they agreed to install Bifren ropes or crash barriers near the pillar to avert the accident. “Sadly , they installed the ropes near the pillar which acts as a median on the Mumbai and Pune corridors of the expressway .No vehicles have so far collided against this pillar,“ an HSP official said.

MSRDC executive engineer Umesh Mallawat said the MSRDC study proved it was an accident-prone spot. “So we have installed the ropes and crash barriers at the spot,“ he added.

Source : TOI