Police solution day after: make road narrower
Police think narrowing down a stretch of wide, smooth road using difficult-to-spot traffic guardrails can prevent car crashes.
The Bidhannagar commissionerate on Wednesday placed five iron guardrails in a zig-zag fashion near the spot on Major Arterial Road in New Town where a speeding Honda City had met with a fatal accident early on Tuesday.
Three teenagers sitting on the rear seat of the sedan died when the vehicle mounted a kerb, rammed into a pillar and flipped over on the service road before smashing into a pavement near Westin Hotel.
A senior officer of the commissionerate said the guardrails — also called crash barriers — had been put up to prevent rash driving. But in the process the road has become narrower, raising the risk of accident.
Guardrails were also placed on other stretches of Major Arterial Road, an eight-lane, 193.57-ft wide thoroughfare that connects New Town with the airport on one side and Salt Lake on the other.
Most of the guardrails the cops placed on Wednesday were difficult to spot even from a few metres in daylight, as the blue-and-white paint had faded and was peeling off in places.
At night, many residents fear, the guardrails would only become visible at the last moment, increasing chances of accident.
Several barriers are covered with a thick layer of dust. Many are not visible from a distance because of trees and shrubs on the median divider. Only two have “Go Slow” written in English and Bengali on the reflective surface.
“Most of the guardrails are not visible from a distance as they don’t have reflectors. At night it is even trickier as fog settles here almost daily,” said New Town resident Sandeep Agarwal, 42, who drives to his workplace on Park Street and back home every day.
An officer of the commissionerate’s traffic wing said they were scanning footage of CCTV cameras on Major Arterial Road to find out more about the circumstances leading to the crash.
Early on Tuesday, the sedan was speeding towards the airport from New Town along Major Arterial Road. In front of Westin Hotel, near Eco Park, it made a U-turn and started speeding back towards Salt Lake.
The officer said the car had travelled from Kolkata Gate at Rabindra Tirtha to the Westin Hotel crossing, a distance of 1.5km, in 15 seconds.
Forensic experts examined the car and the accident site on Tuesday and according to one of them, the car was being driven at a speed between 100 and 110kmph when the driver lost control.
A probe has revealed that seconds after making the U-turn, the driver lost control of the car. The vehicle veered left and hit the median divider that separates the road from the service lane and rammed into a pillar of the Airport-Garia Metro corridor.
The car then darted across the service lane on its left wheels and smashed into the pavement. The tyre marks on the road stretched at least 15 feet, suggesting the driver had braked in a last-ditch attempt to avoid hitting the divider.
The three who died are Phoolbagan resident Mayank Jhawar, a first-year BCom student at St Xavier’s College, his cousin Kaushal, also from Phoolbagan, and Nisidh Jaiswal from Beadon Street.