Five pedestrians were killed on the Edapally-Kundanoor stretch in January

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is turning a blind eye to the spiralling number of accidents on Edapally-Aroor NH 47 Bypass.

Five pedestrians were killed on the Edapally-Kundanoor stretch in January. The stretch has accounted for half of the 11 accident deaths recorded in areas falling under the jurisdiction of Edappally Traffic Police in the last month.

The NHAI has failed to take steps to curb accidents, despite the traffic police harping on the need for pedestrian lines at big and small junctions on the stretch. The agency can also install ‘cats eye’ type reflectors across the road to alert motorists of the presence of zebra lines during night. The apathy of NHAI, which collects a hefty toll, has shocked road users.

“Apart from the urgent need for zebra lines, we also told the NHAI about the need to barricade medians so that pedestrians do not jaywalk and meet with accidents. Crossings must be allowed at places where there is high pedestrian density,” said P.P. Shams, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Edapally Traffic). Pedestrians often under estimated the speed of oncoming vehicles. Most of the accidents took place during evening hours, he said.

Street lights

There is also demand to install street lights and cats eyes/reflectors on the accident-prone Vyttila-Thykoodam-Aroor stretch, where pedestrians are most vulnerable. The proposal mooted by the NHAI about a decade ago to landscape the medians on the Edappally-Vyttila stretch has not been implemented. The agency has also not fully landscaped the Vyttila-Aroor stretch, though funds were earmarked for the projects months ago. The project would have checked jaywalking, and reduced the glare produced from the high beams of vehicles. The medians, at present, are now infested with weeds and shrubs.

Water logging

The NHAI has also not been able to prevent water logging across the 16-km-long bypass. Two years ago, the agency had spent over Rs.200 crore to four-lane the Vyttila-Aroor stretch and resurface the Edapally-Vyttila portion. Last week’s showers resulted in many portions of the bypass and most of the service roads getting inundated. Most of the service roads and a few stretches on the highway remained flooded for a few hours, holding up traffic.

The agency has not done anything to clean the drains and link them with canals. Due to water logging there are lot of potholes on the service roads. Kochi Project Director of NHAI, C.T. Abraham said an agency has been appointed to carry out maintenance works on the NH Bypass.

“They will have a permanent team to oversee the safety aspects and also to ensure good condition of roads and allied infrastructure. A portion of the toll amount will be given to them for this.” The team will also have to restore signal lights, medians, reflectors, etc., which were knocked down by vehicles. Mr. Abraham said there are no immediate plans to barricade the medians and to landscape the fallow portions.

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