BRO to carry out road safety audit of its roads

New Delhi : The roads constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are used not only by the Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces but traversed extensively by the tourists and adventure seekers from all over the country. The advancement of construction technology and practices in road infrastructure is being prepared to sustain traffic volume for all weather, altitudes and seasons. The enhanced technology and availability of sophisticated road construction machines and equipment has also accelerated the pace of road construction in border areas.

Road infrastructure development in rural and remote areas is a great facilitator. Road connectivity promotes tourism, contributes to socio-economic growth and keeps the movement of essential supplies for Armed Forces open round the year.

As quality roads are being constructed in the remotest regions of our border areas, tourists and adventure seekers are flocking to these locations in their quest for exploration. Trends indicate increased traffic flow and incidents of over speeding, leading to an unfortunate increase in traffic related accidents. The roads are used by all sorts of people, some disciplined and some unruly, both are behavioural aspects and the road construction and law enforcement agencies have found these humane aspects challenging to deal with.

The BRO has now prepared a blueprint for reducing the accident potential of its constructed roads and bridges and has embarked on an extensive exercise to audit the existing roads and bridges. A number of actions have already been initiated, the most significant being establishment of Centre of Excellence for Road Safety Awareness (CoERSA) at BRO headquarters in New Delhi, which will be the nodal agency for formulation and promulgation of all policies and defining the standard operating procedures for road safety in all its projects. The CoERSA recently organised a road safety seminar and the initial framework for audit of roads by experts, from within the organisation, has been formulated.

The BRO aims to conduct the exercise of road safety audit in a graduated manner commencing with a phase wise internal audit of existing roads which will be performed by its core experts. This will lead to identifying  potential accident prone sites, irregularities in road geometric and propose improvement of roadside signage and other roadside furniture, etc. This phase will enable the auditors in finding gaps that adversely impact road safety. Alongside will be a  robust public outreach effort, enhancing awareness of road users, using the social media. The BRO has already prepared and uploaded various road safety theme based jingles and small documentaries. A 75 days pan-India motorcycle expedition is also being undertaken to stimulate road safety awareness among the larger public which will commence from National War Memorial in the national capital on October 14, 2021.

In the subsequent phase, after seeking views from the academia, based on research, a formal methodology for Road Safety Audit, will be prepared with support from qualified experts and agencies such as Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. This will entail practical on-site training for auditors, who will then examine the BRO construction practices for improvement in design and incorporation of improved safety aspects in road geometry among other issues, specifically for mountainous and snowbound areas.

The month long, initial internal audit exercise for road safety has commenced from September 15, 2021 in which all the projects of BRO in states of Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh will endeavour to carry out the audit, before the onset of winters closes the passes and impedes work. This will enable early planning for the improvements to be incorporated in the next working season.