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Delhiites Spurn humps but tolerate !

By T.K. Malhotra

AUGUST issue carried a story ‘No More Bumpy Rides’ to invite suggestions from the motorists on growing menace of speed breakers in the city. Many of our readers who live in streets with either road humps, slow points or some other traffic management regularly drive through areas struggling with similar devices. Road humps normally defined as speed breakers have become a part of every second road or street in the city we live.

Many motorists have been voicing their opinion and have also been angry with the Area Traffic Police. Single-lane, angled slow points are the most intensely
disliked. Speed breakers got the thumbs down too. Drivers and local residents are, however, more tolerant about speed breakers which are need based required for safety and are constructed conforming to IRC specifications.

The often controversial schemes are devised to check speed or flow, to reduce crashes and to improve traffic movement. One of the many surprises we get on road is creating additional traffic hazards and blockages by placing security check baricade. You’re bound to get the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong. Road is snarled with frustrated drivers who consider themselves lucky if they can manage an exit. The environment gets obscured by a sickly smoky haze that emits from the vehicles.

Thanks to Delhi Traffic Police which has now responded to a wake-up call and has ordered removal of all unauthorized Speed Breakers. With all their good intentions, traffic police cops may not be able to find a total solution to this problem unless we join hands with them. It was this thought that we asked our readers to identify and report all such humps and breakers, which seem to be causing great risk.

The feed back from many readers reveals that they had never taken part or been consulted by local persons or the traffic police on existing or proposed plan of raising humps in their localities. Other finding reveal that many residents have their own whims about safety in front of their houses and thus venture into constructing a speed breaker of no specifications and without legal norms.

The Indian Road Congress in the meeting held on 12th June, 1987 had considered and adopted certain guidelines on the provision of speed breakers to control vehicular speeds. Accordingly use of speed breakers is justified primarily under the following three circumstances:

1. T-intersections of minor roads with rural trunk highways, characterised by relatively low traffic volumes on the minor road but very high average operating speed and poor sight distances. Such locations have a high record of fatal accidents and as such a speed breaker on the minor road is recommended;

2. Intersections of minor roads with major roads, and mid-block sections in urban areas where it is desirable to bring down the speeds; and

3. Selected local streets in residential areas, school, college or university campuses, hospitals, etc. Also in areas where traffic is observed to travel faster than the regulated or safe speed in the area.

Other place where these may be used include;

1. Any situation where there is a consistent record of accidents primarily attributed to the speed of the vehicles e.g. when hazardous sections follow a long tangent approach;

2. Approaches to temporary diversions;

3. Approaches to weak or narrow bridges and culverts requiring speed restriction for safety;

4. On the minor arms of uncontrolled junctions and at railway level crossings;

5. Sharp curves with poor sight distances; and

6. Places of ribbon development, where road passes through builtup areas and vehicles travelling at high speeds are a source of imminent danger to pedestrians.

It is of utmost importance from safety view point that the speed breakers are laid strictly in conformity with the specifications recommended by IRC. It has to been ensured that :

1. Speed breakers are laid by first marking the location of hump on the pavement and marking indents in this area for proper bonding.

Surface is then cleared of all dust and loose particles and a tack coat applied. Forms of requisite heights, shape and width are then placed, and hot premixed bituminous material is poured to the required depth and shape. Forms are then lifted and the surface finished to required shape, and edges rounded by trowel. The premixed material should be well compacted before opening to traffic. Allowance should be made for compaction, and irregularities should be corrected using bituminous materials having fine aggregate or by scrapping, as necessary. The material is then allowed to cure before opening to traffic.

2. Arrangements for proper drainage of the speed breakers must be made to prevent formation of ponds and puddles.

3. Drivers should be warned of the presence of speed breakers by posting suitable advance warning signs. The warning signs, should be of the design ‘HUMP OR ROUGH ROAD’ detailed in IRC: 67-1977 ‘Code of practice for Road Signs’. The sign should have a definition plate with the words ‘SPEED
BREAKER’ inscribed thereon and should be located 40 m in advance of the first speed breaker. Location of this sign is indicated in the illustrations of typical cases.

4 Speed breakers should be painted with alternate black and white bands to give additional visual warning. For better night visibility, it is desirable that the markings are in luminous paint/luminous strips. Embedded cat-eyes can also be used to enhance night visibility. Maintenance of a speed breaker is
very crucial and should not be neglected. The humps, at regular intervals must be repaired to remove dust or mud collected on either side. The most important
activity is the repairing and markings on the hump as this provides an essential visual warning to the drivers. I once again appeal to all our members and readers to come forward and give us their opinion and feed back to enable us to place their views in the next Central Traffic Advisory Committee meeting as also before the other concerned authorities.