It will be carried out in association with Chennai Corporation

In an effort to improve safety on its roads and grade separators, the Highways Department will soon improve illumination in dark places in the city. According to sources in the department, this would be done in association with the Chennai Corporation.

“We will ensure that the facilities constructed by both the Highways and the National Highways Authority of India are well lit to prevent accidents. The approach roads and ramps to grade separators will also be lit up by the local body. We will instal the lamps and the local body will energise [lay cables and take power connection],” said the official.

“We review and record accidents along with the Police and Transport Departments. Illumination is one of the factors that have to be improved,” he added.

A Corporation official said: “We recently energised two 30-metre high-mast lamps at the Koyambedu grade separator constructed by the NHAI. We will instal four more high mast lamps there.”

Normally, the Highways Department does not instal streetlights. Commuters and residents taking several roads in the suburban areas suffer. Lack of funds and manpower are reasons cited by the local bodies for their roads remaining dark.

Tiruvottiyur municipal chairman R.Jayaraman said, “When we approach the Highways Department for illuminating the roads, they say that it is not their responsibility. We don't have funds. The Ennore Expressway and Tiruvottiyur High Road, which come under our municipality, do not have lights… both belong to the Highways Department.”

Urban Planner K.P. Subramanian said that inadequate illumination would lead to more pedestrian accidents. “The Highways Department must realise that suburban roads are as important as those in the city. The kind of lighting should be decided based on the class of the road,” he said.

According to data from the Road Accident Data Management System, 55 per cent of all pedestrian accidents, which account for one-third of road traffic accidents, occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

A resident of Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Mudichur, S. Bharat said the Tambaram-Mudichur Road, which connects several residential localities to Mannivakkam where it meets Vandalur-Padappai-Oragadam Road, has no lighting facilities. “This causes a lot of accidents and many pedestrians, especially elders find it difficult to cross the facility,” he said.

Accident data collected through RTI from the traffic police for the years 2005 to 2010 showed that Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Tiruvottiyur High Road witnessed 21 per cent of the total accidents in the city.

Roshan Toshnival of Transparent Chennai, IMFR, who obtained the data, said “An analysis revealed that pedestrians and two-wheelers formed 73 per cent of those affected.”

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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