CHENNAI: In a move to prevent road accidents, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will tap solar energy to light up the 32km-stretch of Chennai bypass that connects four national highways. The stretch, according to Chennai city police, was deadly for road users, particularly during night hours, as it was poorly lit.
The Chennai bypass connects NH 4 (Chennai-Bengaluru), NH 5 (Chennai-Kolkatta), NH 205 (Anantapur-Chennai) and NH 45 (Chennai-Trichy). The two stretches of the bypass are Perungalathur to Maduravoyal and Maduravoyal to Madhavaram.
The authorities have installed 25 solar lights along the median near Irumbuliyur and toll plaza at Porur in the first phase of the project. Each panel with two lights and four batteries cost Rs 1.75 lakh. The batteries have 14 hours power backup. “We have taken up the installation of solar lighting to bring down the fatal accidents following a report submitted by the police department,” a senior official in NHAI told TOI.
Fifteen more solar lights would be erected in most accident-prone spots along the stretch soon. “We will check the functioning of the solar lights put up in the first phase. After rectifying the shortcomings, we will install the remaining lights. The panels have been fitted with timers, programmed to turn on the lights at 6pm and switch off at 6am,” the official said, The local office has sent a proposal to the headquarters seeking funds to light up the entire stretch. This is to ensure safety of road users during night.
The initiative follows a 2017 report submitted by the Chennai city traffic police. It highlighted poor lighting along the Chennai bypass, resulting in several fatal accidents.
The report submitted to NHAI by the police department’s traffic wing said 36 people were killed and 158 injured in 152 accidents on the stretch in 2016, while there were 17 deaths and 43 sustained grievous injurious in 43 accidents from January to July 2017.
Of those killed, 25 lost their lives in accidents that took place between 6pm and 6am. The reports divulged that poor lighting was the major factor that turned the stretch into one of deadliest for road users in Chennai. “We are taking all efforts to make the stretch safe,” the official said.