Cost a hurdle in installation at all big junctions

Lack of countdown timers at many busy traffic junctions in the city and their unscientific positioning have raised concerns about road users’ safety.

Many road stretches in the city have become as good as the best in the world under the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP), and solar-powered traffic signals have been installed at junctions. But these signals have not been synchronised and the green-amber-red traffic lights at many places are imprecise.

The timing of the change from green to amber and from amber to red is inconsistent across traffic junctions. This poses a danger to both motorists and pedestrians. Often, motorists get caught in the middle of the road and have to pay Rs.500 to Rs.1,000 for red light violation.

Although the timers have been installed near the north and south gates of the Secretariat, at Pattom and Overbridge, they are yet to be set up at other busy junctions such as Peroorkada, Kowdiar, Vellayambalam, Vazhuthacaud, VJT Hall, and RR Lamp.

The additional cost involved is preventing the authorities from installing the countdown timers at all junctions.

Confusion prevails among road users at junctions where the timers are yet to be set up. The motorists disregard rules in places such as in front of the city Corporation office when the green signals glows for vehicles coming from Nanthancode. The confusion at Vellayambalam junction can be avoided if the timers are installed on all the approach roads.

Road safety experts say the timers should be mounted in a scientific manner on the signal posts to ensure these are visible to the motorists.

“The timers are helpful for motorists and pedestrians crossing the road. We wanted to install them at all the busy junctions under the CRIP,” says Anil Kumar Pandala, Project Director and Vice-President, Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Ltd. (TRDCL), the concessionaire of CRIP.

The TRDCL had written to the Kerala Road Fund Board seeking permission to install the countdown timers as it was not included in the project. A timer costs Rs.40,000.