Some of them are constructed without proper planning: Madurai commuters

Medians on the roads are constructed to help ease traffic, but on the contrary many of them hamper vehicle movement in the city.

New medians keep sprouting on several roads frequently and some of them are provided without proper planning, say commuters.

“Since last week, there is a new metal divider at Ayyar Bungalow junction. The divider is actually a disturbance and it poses a threat to the commuters at night. Taking turns at the junction has become extremely difficult because of the divider,” says K. Ravi, an auto driver.

Another newly installed median that has drawn criticism of the public is in the form of dividers in front of the railway station.

“Already, there were cement dividers in front of the railway station. Around a month ago new metal dividers were installed. Because of this there has been severe traffic congestion before the railway station. The road itself is very narrow and installing new dividers has in no way helped ensure free flow of traffic,” says S. Karthick, a doctor at Apollo Specialty Hospitals.

The road users are forced to take turns at the junction in front of Town Hall Road, which results in traffic jams, he adds.

“Something has to be done to avert collisions near Simmakkal bus stop. The barricades separating the road and the bus stop is a threat to two-wheeler riders who are caught unawares,” he adds.

On Panagal Road in front of Government Rajaji Hospital, the medians are installed in such a way that there is no opening in front of the emergency gate, points out Mr.Ravi. “Ambulances and other vehicles have to move further, take a turn and then reach the gate,” he says.

Expressing concern over the unplanned installation of dividers, P. Peter Nesakumar, another auto driver, says, “In many places the medians are constructed and demolished according to the whims and fancies of the authorities. Roads in Madurai are generally narrow and installation or construction of medians only has caused traffic congestion.”

“Unregulated movement of share autos and water tankers is one of the major reasons for traffic congestion. Metal barricades are at least easy to remove, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money to pull down the cement dividers,” he adds.

Another major concern the medians have caused among the public is the question of safety of the public in their construction.

“Wherever there are cement dividers, there are no reflectors. In several places there is no proper lighting. The dividers become a major threat at night,” says R. Rajalakshmi, a resident of Pudur.

“The dividers at several parts of Simmakkal serve no purpose at all. While the haphazardly parked two-wheelers occupy one side of the road, the dividers occupy the centre of the road, leaving very little space for vehicles. This result in frequent traffic jams,” she says.

“I also doubt if the authorities follow correct steps while installing the dividers or constructing the medians. In some parts of the city, the medians are less than one foot in height, whereas in a few parts they are high and towering,” she points out.

A police official in the traffic department, who requested anonymity, told The Hindu that some changes could be made on the placement of dividers in the city for free vehicular movement.

“In front of the Government Rajaji Hospital, the opening before the doctor’s entry could be closed and the dividers in front of the emergency gate could be opened. In front of the railway station, dividers could be placed before the Town-Hall Road-Thanga Regal Theatre junction and the vehicles could be asked to move further and take turns around the Kattabomman statue to ease traffic congestion at the junction,” says the official.

According to the official, medians were constructed at several places based on the suggestions of the public. “Accidents along the Periyar-Palanganatham road have been minimised to a large extent. Installing dividers in the stretch can bring down the number of accidents further. Medians on Madurai-Theni Road will also be useful. Instead of cement dividers, which occupy more space, metal dividers with advertisement boards would be appropriate,” he adds.

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