EEH was relatively good road with less no of accident till Nov. 2007. MMRDA's action turned it into dangerous road.Now MMRDA is blaiming public Remidial action has created more problems.Entire expenditure is qustionable. How to fix responcibility & how to recover loss to the tax payers.
I am a Civil Engineering graduate in First Class with Distinction from Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute and during the final year of my BE (Civil) course “Advanced Highway Engineering” and “Traffic Engineering and Control” were my elective subjects. I am a Chartered Engineer and a Member of Institution of the Engineers (MIE) (India).
I had been staying at the above place since 1991 and have been traveling over the Eastern Express Highway since then frequently and in the recent years i.e. since 1999 almost everyday in connection with my work during that period or for other purposes. I have been traveling in my own car; earlier a Maruti Van and since 2004 a Maruti Wagon R. I have a complete accident free record. Recently due to some medical problems related to spine, I have been using services of a driver for my Wagon R car.
I am responding to this thread as I have become a victim of the consequences of the recent road work by MMRDA when my car which was stopped at the signal in lane number 2 of the south bound traffic at about 1605 Hrs on Thursday 10th July 2008 was rammed from behind by a tourist bus which most likely skidded due to poor anti skid properties of the wearing surface of the road causing considerable damage to it. Not only the bus rammed my car, it also hit a motorcycle throwing off the rider and the pillion on the road. It had been raining since I left Mulund for taking a flight to Hyderabad from the domestic airport and my cars warning flashers were on to warn the traffic behind. I was seated in the seat by the side of the driver. I could not see exactly what happened to the bus or what caused its driver to result in failure to stop it. But there was a loud bang and a cry of a lady fallen on the ground. I rushed out of my car and immediately found a bike rider and pillion rider fallen on the road and immediately attended the bike rider and the pillion lady who was completely dazed due to the dashing of their bike by the bus. I saw that the bike was almost under the front bumper of the bus and just short of its front wheel. The riders of the bike had bruises and bleeding besides some internal injuries as could be seen from their faces. I then carried the driver of the bus and the bike riders to the nearest traffic police chowky below the flyover bridge at Pant Nagar Junction.
I have been observing the condition of the Eastern Express Highway since 1991. I can state that barring the period few years back around 1992-94, even during monsoon period the condition of the EE Highway used to be satisfactory and it was my observation that whatever problems used to be developed during rainy reason, the state PWD which incidentally is the owner of the road used to maintain it using a Highway Maintenance Team (Mahamarg Durusti Pathak as the vehicle in it used to be tagged). But I do not recall any such attempt after the road was taken over by MMRDA though it may be claimed that the road may not be in need of such dedicated team. But I have an advice for those who claim of quality - look at the separating joints between strips of mastic asphalt at various locations like Ghatkopar, Everard Nagar and numerous cracks in the cement concrete pavement within just couple of years
I desire to add to this information which contain facts as well as my opinions as a Civil Engineering professional having academic background of electives of highway engineering and traffic engineering and more because I myself now have become a victim of the wrong road work by MMRDA.
I have to state and highlight as under-
1. In the past I have never seen such a continuous stretch of high speed road being resurfaced with mastic asphalt (Please note mastic asphat with fine aggregates).
2. Mastic pavements are used in areas like junctions, bus stops and highly stressed roads where the traffic naturally reduces its speed. (The report if STAC of BMC appointed to look in to matter of the conditions of the road may please be referred)
3. In Europe and especially in Germany (as found from my fellow professionals and other literature which I have come across) mastic pavement are used but please note that these are “SMA or the Stone Mastic Asphalt Pavements” with coarse aggregates and not mastic asphalt with just fine aggregates.
4. Mastic asphalt pavements be it SMA or the mastic with only fine aggregates have inherent issue of reduced skid resistance and it is essential to provide adequate skid resistance using stone implants of 14 or 20mm aggregates of adequate abrasion resistance at specified rate while the mastic is still hot.
5. Every road wearing surface offers different degree of skid resistance by virtue of contact area of between the tyres of a vehicle and the surface. In case of mastic asphalt due to the smoothness and absence of or lesser stone implants the film of rain water extends over mush larger area in an unbroken manner. It is based on simple laws of physics pertaining to the surface tension phenomenon. In case of mastic with fine aggregates and inadequate measures for skid resistance, the film extends for considerable distance and the wheels loose contact with the surface (hydroplaning) causing loss of braking power or in worse cases if brakes are jammed hard skidding causing the vehicle to go uncontrolled.
6. The type of pavement used by MMRDA for EEH is not SMA but mastic with fine aggregates only. Thus there is a fundamental mistake in selection of type of pavement for a high speed road (with a design speed of 60 to 80 KMPH as perceived for a Express Highway). It needs to be investigated what kind of engineering was done in selecting the type of surface and what was the expert advice in this context.
7. It is necessary to investigate the specifications, design criteria, quality control procedures by MMRDA (whether they deployed required no of quality checks as simple as controlling the temperature of the mastic, grading of the aggregates etc.)
8. I feel that basic principles of science and engineering were ignored while adopting the proposal which has resulted in a death trap for the EE Highway users.
9. Consequent to the abnormal number of accidents since monsoon of 2008, MMRDA came up with an idea of spreading fine grit over simple tack coat. It is necessary to know who recommended this solution and on what logic. I have seen that the grit which was spread over has already sank in the pavement or been forced away by the forces of the tyres causing an erratic pattern of very bad surface. I feel that it is a colossal waste of public money without application of mind. I can say that remedy is worse than malady.
10. Whether the technology and equipment used for mastic surfacing were approved by MMRDA also needs to be investigated.
11. Are there any flaws in the workmanship by virtue of equipment, manpower or the quality control procedures on part of the implementing agemcy MMRDA or the contractors must be investigated.
12. If the Godrej stretch as the killer stretch has come to be known as was the only stretch infested with problems, the logic and prudence of putting cautionary signs of speed restriction all over the highway from Sion to Mulund needs investigation. I wish to point out a basic principle in Traffic Engineering which says that use of cautionary signs in highway or road engineering in indiscriminate manner must be avoided as it looses its impact and drivers tend to ignore such warning signs for obvious human psychological grounds. Does it mean that the entire EE Highway has been converted in to a hazard zone pursuant to MMRDA working on it using public money? Needs to be investigated.
13. What are the remedial measures proposed by the authorities and at what cost and it is essential to fix the responsibility for such huge loss to state exchequer due to decisions on unsound grounds initially and then the reactive measures and those found guilty must be punished.
14. Regarding the accident involving my car the photographs attached would show that the bus was in a wrong lane (should have been travelling in the last lane but was in the lane meant for light vehicles). The cause of the accident and any points contrary to law must be investigated. Traffic police must instil sense of proper lane discipline on high speed highways.
I feel that the acts pushing the road users in to a death trap must be investigated and the culprits causing risks to life of commuters must be punished appropriately.