Thampanoor houses a railway station, a bus station, and a heap of traffic troubles

This is where many set foot on the State capital. This is also where many bid farewell to the city. The crowd at the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station and the KSRTC’s Central Bus Terminal only emphasises how crucial the area is to the city’s transport affairs.

Still, getting around the Ponnara Sreedhar Park while coming from the Overbridge side to reach the railway station could mean presenting oneself with a bad set of frayed nerves. Buses that come out of the still incomplete bus terminal, autorickshaws that stop right in the middle of the road to pick up passengers from the terminal and the railway station, the numerous private vehicles that come to drop passengers at the terminal and the railway station – it is a big free-for-fall.

Though the few personnel from the traffic police posted in the area somehow manage to keep the traffic moving, slowly but not quite steadily, a proper traffic regulation and management system remains absent for Thampanoor. The debris and rubble from the incomplete bus terminal have only made the situation worse.

For some days now, the culvert relaying work at Vanchiyoor has caused traffic snarls in the busy junction. Many motorists going to, say, Kaithamukku or to the Fort area from General Hospital consequently choose to reach the Uppilamoodu bridge by going around the district court complex. Now, that is a journey no one would easily forget.

For starters, the road around the court complex is barely fit for traffic. In many a place the narrow road is chopped up; vehicles parked willy-nilly on either side only add to the chaos. And that is only half the story.

If and when a motorist is able to rough it past this ‘steeple chase’ what awaits him at the narrow turn to the road leading up to the Uppilamoodu bridge is a blood pressure-raising gridlock. Vehicles waiting to come down the turn to the court complex, those waiting to go up to the bridge, a strategically parked two-wheeler… it doesn’t take much to create a half-hour jam at this spot.

Often, there is also a long line of vehicles awaiting the signal on the bridge; during peak traffic hours this ‘queue’ leads well down the Ambujavilasom road. Wags who are regulars on this road point out that if a motorist doesn’t develop a certain meditative detachment at this place, he probably never would.

Bottlenecks are a common sight at the junction at the beginning of the flyover in front of the New Theatre, which leads to the Thampanoor junction. This junction is the meeting point for the roads leading from Karamana and Mettukada. Though the Mettukada road has relatively less traffic, the one from Karamana is choked for a major part of the day. The junction turns into an arena of confusion when traffic from the Thampanoor side meets the traffic from these two roads. A roundabout at this junction could reduce the confusion caused by crisscrossing vehicles, though it would hardly be a solution for the clogged roads. The problem is set to aggravate with the upcoming monsoon when the flooding at the Thampanoor junction will lead to a long line of vehicles at these roads and more confusion at the flyover.

Reporting by Dennis Marcus Mathew, G. Mahadevan, and S.R. Praveen