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Walk, govt will make roads safe

NH-5 at Vani Vihar in Bhubaneswar. 
Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: To ensure better pedestrian facilities on major roads, including national and state highways, which run through the city, the public works department has decided to implement the guidelines framed by the Indian Road Congress.

In a first, the works department will conduct a survey of the major roads and analyse the present situation followed which they will make effort to provide the facilities wherever it is absent and improve the ones wherever it is already existed. The focus will remain on improving the footpaths and zebra crossings.

The department will take up the work itself on the state highways in the city, while for the national highways it will collaborate with the National Highways Authority of India.

"Pedestrian facilities are a critical element in producing a pedestrian-friendly environment on the road. A guideline has already been framed for the purpose. We need to comply with the same," said chief engineer road O.P. Patel.

According to the guideline, the works department will construct footpaths on both sides of the roads, which will remain above the level of the carriageway.

The footpaths will be at least 1,800 mm in width. No signage or pole will be put up on the footpaths. There will be special provision for persons with disability including installation of tiles.

"The guideline is prepared keeping in view the needs of pedestrians of all age group and especially the persons with disabilities. We will look into each and every aspect of the rules and implement those while constructing or maintaining the footpaths and the zebra crossings," said an official of the works department.

At present, National Highway 5, which runs through the middle of the city, has underpasses at several places to help pedestrians cross the highway with ease. Besides, the highway has parallel footpaths on both sides, but zebra crossings are missing at several junctions. This makes life difficult for the pedestrians.

On the other hand, the state highway or Cuttack Road runs through densely populated areas such as Rasulgarh, Lakshmi Sagar and Bomikhal. There are no markers to facilitate crossing. It doesn't have proper footpaths, forcing people to walk on the road.

"It is necessary to provide better zebra crossings and footpaths on these highways since traffic flow is heavy compared to minor roads. Cuttack Road is one of the busiest roads, but ironically it doesn't have good facility for pedestrians," said Bomikharl resident Reet Acharya.

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