The Telegraph
Friday , February 28 , 2014
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The (g)rumble strips

Good intention. Bad execution. Ugly result.

This is the short story of a smooth thoroughfare — connecting two commercial hubs in Jamshedpur — where a safety feature flaunts the potential to trigger mishaps.

In the run-up to the March 3 Founder’s Day, civic utility firm Jusco has overnight commissioned two transverse rumble strips near the Tata Steel general office roundabout on the Sakchi-Bistupur road. The elevated objective is to alert motorists of an intersection or obstacle ahead by creating tactile vibration and audible rumbling.

However, the well-intended move to rein in speed demons is being thoroughly defeated because the Tata Steel subsidiary has forgotten to zebra-stripe these sleeper lines, as is mandatory under road transports specifications for better visibility after sundown.

As a consequence, when speeding vehicles — generally more than 1,50,000 lakh public carriers like buses and auto-rickshaws, besides private cars — hit the rumble strips on a butter-smooth stretch used even by VIPs, they transmit a sudden bone-rattling jerk to passengers. An accident is only a matter of time, given the city’s sense of road discipline.

Manoranjan Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver ferrying passengers between Sakchi and Jugsalai, said he had his fair share of curses on Thursday morning.

“I was abused by passengers because of the sudden jerking. The rumble strips have come up overnight, but without the white stripes. One side of the road is sloped, it is not easy to drive or apply brakes slowly. It is unbecoming of a company (like Tata Steel) to overlook such an important feature,” he added.

Commuters too complained of harrowing travel.

“I rammed into a car after my bike hit the rumble strips. It was sudden and I lost balance. Fortunately, the car was not speeding. Else, it would have been a major accident,” said Mukhtar Javed, the owner of a confectionery shop in Dhatkidih.

The traffic top brass, when informed of the shortcoming, promised to take up the matter with Jusco.

“I will write to general manager (town services) Dhananjay Mishra about getting the speed-breakers painted as soon as possible,” said traffic DSP R.M. Sinha.

Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan conceded that since they were busy renovating the stretch ahead of Founder’s Day, they might have overlooked the road construction guidelines. “I will ask officials concerned to fix the rumble stripes,” he said.