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Accidents waiting to happen at medians without reflectors

Staff Reporter
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Unlit dividers, lack of street lights prove dangerous

The absence of reflectors on medians has led to several accidents in Ernakulam district.

The latest of such accidents was a lorry overturning at Vytilla junction on Sunday night after ramming an unlit median. The accident would have attained a different dimension if smaller vehicles or pedestrians were passing near the lorry at that time.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for putting up reflectors at medians, bridges and junctions on the Edapally-Aroor NH bypass and the Kalamassery-Vallarpadam Container Terminal Road. However, reflectors have not been installed at several medians and other structures protruding onto these roads. This is despite the expenditure of Rs.194 crore by the agency about a year ago on widening and resurfacing the Edapally-Aroor stretch of the NH. However, it is collecting hefty tolls from motorists using the road.

With the agency not ensuring well-lit medians, the traffic police have kept reflective cones at some accident-prone medians and junctions.

The authority's Kochi project director C.T. Abraham said that a few reflectors that were damaged after vehicles rammed them were yet to be replaced. Steps would be taken to increase the visibility of all medians. On accidents taking place because of the lack of reflectors at many places on the container terminal road, he said that road-widening work was on there and the problem would be rectified soon.

A traffic police official said that the NHAI had not installed reflectors on the two roads, despite the police submitting many letters to the agency.

Neither has the NHAI pruned shrubs that block visibility at U-turns, thus causing accidents. The agency has also been unable to prevent water logging at many places on the NH bypass, which cause accidents during the rains.

Sources in the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) said that the NHAI should also install reflectors intermittently on the side of medians so that speeding motorists have an idea of the road edge.

On its part, the Kochi Corporation has not installed street lights at most places on the bypass.

Medians, bridges and culverts on most roads owned and maintained by the PWD, Kochi Corporation and other local bodies too do not have reflectors. Even worse, many median ends are ill-lit.

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