New Delhi, 15th January 2023: To meet the target of safe travel, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has conducted a safety audit of more than 35,000 kilometres of National Highways in the last two years under its policy related to safety audits. However, it is only about a quarter of the approximately 1,65,000 kilometres of National Highways. But during this time, the initiative has been taken to fix 8,000 risky places so that they do not become witnesses of accidents in the coming times. NHAI officials consider this audit essential for road safety. The target is to complete one round of audits of the entire NH network by the end of this year.
According to the ministry, 19,300 kilometres were audited in 2022-23 and 16,500 kilometres in the previous year, i.e. 2021-22. Based on this audit, defects were rectified at places where one or the other accident took place in the previous years. These include the installation of road lights, signs, safety barriers, railings for the safety of pedestrians, rumble strips, and others.
According to an official of the Ministry of Road Transport, it is encouraging that safety has been ensured at the places where repairs have been made. Attention is being paid to regulating and controlling traffic at places where the highway is passing through populated areas. In the recent review meeting of PM Gatishakti Master Plan regarding the audit of roads from the point of view of safety, the Ministry of Road Transport was instructed that any section of any highway should be opened for operation only after the safety audit. Under this, the ministry has made safety audits mandatory at the DPR level.
It may be noted that all new projects will be audited by a team of independent security consultants and its recommendations will be implemented at the design stage itself. The Road Safety Officers in NHAI will then be entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring these recommendations to ensure that all safety measures are taken care of.