The Outer Ring Road or ORR as it is commonly referred to, is an eight lane expressway that runs around the city of Hyderabad in the state of Telangana, India. It was built to provide quick access to important nodes in the city, provide connectivity between the highways and city radial roads and also act as a bypass for the traffic passing through the city.
It also served to connect the new airport with the fast growing business district at Gachibowli. The ORR was fenced, had limited number of entries and exits, with service roads to provide peripheral connectivity and was designed for speeds upto 120 kmph.
News artcles about the extent of danger on the ORR
Although the ORR was barred for two wheelers and three wheelers, initially the fencing had not been completed and there was no monitoring of entries and exits either. Many high powered motorcycles owned by rich and influential people sneaked in and ended up getting involved in fatal crashes on the ORR.
There were also lots of crashes due to cars and SUVs hitting stationary or parked vehicles at high speeds. Truck drivers started stopping or parking on the roadside, with little knowledge of the associated perils. When vehicles broke down, they were left standing on the road without hazard lights or warning signs, which made it extremely dangerous.
The Outer Ring Road - Hyderabad
The police were battling with issues like jurisdiction and limited resources and lack of any plan or professional support to deal with ORR safety issues. As the villages along the periphery developed and the vehicle volumes increased, there was also a steady increase in the number of people getting killed while trying to cross the ORR. Speed was the primary factor in all crashes. And the sad truth is that driving licence testing system in India does not train drivers on the safe use of such road infrastructure.
The Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week provided an opportunity to study the safety issues on the ORR. Our NGO Roadkraft spent time driving on the ORR, collaborating with the traffic police doing speed enforcement and studying several issues.
Some actions/interventions which will reduce crashes and save lives are as follows –
They have increased the number of patrol vehicles and laser speed guns for enforcement. The maximum speed limit has been reduced from 120 to 100 kmph. These may be small steps but it is sincerely believed that these measures along with education, enforcement and sustained action over a long period would go a long way in reducing crashes and saving lives on the ORR.
Road Safety Consultant, Hyderabad, India