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Fresh tapes for New Town guardrails

Cops want barriers to be visible in fog

Snehal Sengupta | Published 04.12.23, 06:31 AM
Guardrails on Major Arterial Road, near Eco Park, in New Town

Guardrails on Major Arterial Road, near Eco Park, in New Town

Pictures by Gautam Bose

Traffic guardrails placed by police along the Major Arterial Road (MAR) in New Town will be fitted with fresh retro reflective tapes and warning lights so they can be spotted from a distance even through fog.

Around 600 guardrails on MAR will get fresh tapes and lights as nights and early mornings in New Town are generally foggy during winter, said an official of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), which will fix the retro reflective tapes and warning lights.


The request to fix fresh tapes and lights has come from the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate.

“Based on the request from the police, we have carried out a survey and identified the guardrails that need fresh retro reflective tapes. This is being done to increase their visibility at night, especially now as the nights and mornings are foggy,” said NKDA chairman Debashis Sen.

Across Kolkata, guardrails are painted in blue and white, because of which they blend in under the blue sky during the day and are difficult to spot from a distance.

Most are placed in a zig-zag pattern to act as speed-cutters. In the city, approaching a flyover at night is nothing short of a driving skill test as cars need to weave in and out of a set of guardrails.

The guardrails are placed in a very tight zig-zag formation, in order to create chicanes, at the base of the Parama flyover, EM Bypass-VIP Road flyover and the Nabadiganta flyover in Sector V, among other points.

These are placed to ensure that motorists reduce their speed and two-wheelers don’t get on the flyovers after 10pm.

The Telegraph has reported on multiple occasions how such guardrails pose a safety risk to motorists and two-wheeler riders, who often have to swerve to avoid hitting the barriers after spotting them at the last minute.

There have been multiple fatal accidents across the city involving traffic guardrails.

On Friday evening, this newspaper spotted multiple guardrails on MAR — a 10.5km six-lane artery that connects the airport to Salt Lake, Sector V and New Town — that were difficult to spot from a distance even in daylight.

The guardrails are placed ahead of almost of every traffic signal.

Guardrails placed near the Owl More intersection were difficult to spot owing to their blue and white paint.

On several other stretches, including the road in front of the Aliah University campus, the guardrails are equipped with retro reflective tapes but they are covered by a thick layer of dust, rendering them useless.

Bhargab Maitra, a professor of civil engineering at IIT Kharagpur who specialises in road safety, said that not just guardrails, anything that is placed on the road to reduce the speed of vehicles, apart from a surface hindrance such as a speed-breaker, should ideally be made of plastic, fibre or vulcanised rubber.

“While putting a fresh layer of retro reflective tapes on guardrails will definitely make them more visible at night, ideally they should be painted in yellow and black as they are the easiest to spot from a distance in all conditions, including when the road is enveloped in fog. Moreover, we need to get rid of metal guardrails as they pose a huge safety risk,” said Maitra.

A senior officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate’s traffic wing said the guardrails were needed in order to slow down the speed of motorists as well as to create temporary police check-posts.

“In New Town, where roads are broad and smooth, there have been multiple cases of accidents involving vehicles moving at a very high speed. We also need to place guardrails during routine checks,” said the officer.

Last updated on 04.12.23, 06:32 AM

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