The Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project has come out with some proposals to reduce the congestion. BIJU GOVIND takes a look.

Traffic congestion has reached monstrous proportions in Kozhikode city, not only in the main traffic lines, including National Highway no. 17 (Kannur Road) and National Highway no. 212 (Wayanad Road) that pass through the city, but also within the city and its suburbs.

Blockades are a regular feature at arterial junctions during peak hours despite the widespread street networks in the city. Periodic regulations to streamline the flow of traffic have not brought any positive results. Traffic snarls are just as bad now as it was five years ago.

Experts say a major factor contributing to this is traffic indiscipline. Others are buses not stopping at bus bays; two-wheelers and autorickshaws overtaking from the left side of other vehicles; a lack of mechanism to crack down on violation of traffic rules by utility vehicles; and absence of traffic signals.

Now, to meet the needs of the city traffic, the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) has come out with some revolutionary proposals. The Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS)-Institute for Societal Advancement (ISA) Consortium (Design Supervision and Construction) has prepared these proposals in the wake of junction improvements at around 15 points in the city.

These include traffic regulation at junctions, enforcing the one-way rule on some stretches and installing traffic signals. The city police have approved some of the recommendations for implementation soon.

The KSUDP has already set aside a substantial amount for improvements at the junctions such as Pottammal (Rs.42.89 lakh); Nadakkavu (Rs.18.32 lakh); West Hill (Rs.48.51 lakh); Poonthanam (Rs.29.97 lakh); Rajaji (Rs.3.84 lakh); Medical College (Rs.27.57 lakh); Eranhipalam (Rs.28.02 lakh); Mananchira (Rs.15.14 lakh); Pushpa (Rs.21.29 lakh); SBI (Rs.27.59 lakh); Stadium (Rs.25.22 lakh); Head Post Office (Rs.16.32 lakh) and Railway Station (Rs.10.25 lakh); and Palayam (Rs.17.95 lakh). Plans have been made to solve the bottleneck at the Oyitty junction. A new overbridge and a road will be constructed. It has been proposed that vehicles from Palayam Road will take the overbridge road. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter Palayam Road from the western side. The total cost of the project is Rs.6 crore, says K. Narayanan, Project Manager, KSUDP.

New traffic signals will be installed at Palayam junction, Pushpa junction and Nadakkavu junction. The regulations imposed with the construction of a traffic island at the Head Post Office junction are showing good results. Dangerous overtaking has been curbed and lane discipline enforced.

Now, students of the Government Model Higher Secondary School and pedestrians can safely cross the roads at the junction, he says. Retired Superintending Engineer K.K. Vijayan of WAPCOS-ISA feels that stringent measures at Arayadathupalam junction and Mavoor Road will help solve the traffic jams at these places. Bus bays as well as acceleration and decelerations lanes should be provided in front of the KSRTC bus station.

Constructing a bus bay on the eastern side of the mofussil bus station, allowing vehicles to take a right turn from the eastern side at the Markaz Road junction and prohibiting entry of vehicles from the mofussil stand will solve congestion on Mavoor Road.