Delhi traffic dept's 'hard shoulder' plan faces hurdles

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Dec 20: Weeks after Delhi Police chief B S Bassi directed the traffic department to chart out a plan for creating "hard shoulders" for plying of emergency vehicles, the idea has hit a roadblock.

Senior officials of Delhi Traffic Police said the biggest challenge they are facing in the analysis phase of the hard shoulder plan, which Bassi desires to kick off in two months, happens to be inadequate road space throughout the national capital, encroachments and faulty design.


A hard shoulder is a verge along the motorway for emergency stops, which can also be used as a reserved lane for plying certain vehicles, and is separated from the rest of the road by a series of kerbstones.

"We have been into it (the analysis) for around the past three weeks and so far we haven’t been able to choose a single road stretch where hard shoulder can be applied, largely because none of the roads, even the ones considered to be quite developed, are spacious enough for the idea to be accommodated," said a senior police official.

"The problem is not only the extremely heavy traffic in the city, which has also been found to be indifferent towards emergency vehicles with only a few making way for them, but also faulty designs caused by flawed and erroneous planning and severe encroachments," the official said.

It was on December 1, Bassi, while launching three Twitter handles (including his personal), had directed traffic chief Muktesh Chander to start working on the idea and he desires that the idea materialises into a project by his retirement in February 2016, a senior police official said.

A hard shoulder-like concept was earlier employed in the BRT corridor, wherein the lanes on extreme right on both carriageways were reserved for plying of buses.

However, officials said they are not deterred by the failure of the BRT corridor which was unsuccessful because of deficiencies in the planning process.

In the present hard shoulder plan, the kerbstones will be higher than those in Bus Rapid Transport corridor where motorists often used to jump onto the reserved lanes and vice-versa and there will be gaps around every 100 metres for the emergency vehicles to be pulled away in case of breakdowns, the senior official said.

Currently, the farthest lane on the right of every carriageway is meant for emergency vehicles, which include ambulances, fire tenders and police vans, and it is an offence not to give them way while they are attending to a distress call, the official added.


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