Traffic goes haywire on Alagarkoil Road

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The Tamukkam Ground-Tallakulam stretch on the Alagarkoil Road in Madurai is considered as one of the accident-prone zones by the traffic police wing. Many accidents occur on this road everyday. Sometimes, victims suffer multiple injuries or the accidents claim even lives.

There are many factors for the accidents, motorists say. Right from the Prasanna Venkatachalapathi Temple at Tallakulam to the Karuppanaswamy Temple near Tamukkam Ground, the road is dangerous for road users. Lack of self-discipline among motorists, particularly two-wheeler riders, commercial vehicle drivers and pedestrians wanting to cross the road lead to many accidents.

For instance, share-autorickshaw drivers and mini bus drivers stop their vehicles anywhere they spot a passenger, giving little thought to motorists coming behind them. Similarly, two-wheeler riders and auto-rickshaws suddenly overtake a vehicle even as a heavy vehicle comes on the opposite direction.

There is also chaos when a vehicle wants to take a right turn from Alagarkoil Road towards Gokhale Road or in the opposite direction. It is all the more risky during non-peak hours as the drivers were rash and negligent, shopkeepers in the vicinity say. Last week, a flower merchant who was carrying a huge load on his two-wheeler and riding in a rash manner could not apply brakes when a boy working in a teashop attempted to cross the road. The boy, who suffered a fracture, is convalescing at a hospital, a policeman said.

Devotees visiting the temples on the stretch say it is a nightmare to cross the road. Many drivers terrorise other road users with their speed and honking horns.

Absence of traffic policemen, absence of zebra crossings, and haphazard parking of vehicles in front of shops and popular restaurants (mess in local parlance) also contribute to accidents and traffic jams. Old people or persons with disability find it extremely difficult to cross the road without assistance.

As the bus stops are encroached by share-autorockshaws or autorickshaws on either side of the road, buses almost come to the centre of the road to enable commuters to board and alight, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation officials say. Not in a mood to wait, when drivers coming behind overtake stationary buses, they tend to abuse bus drivers and other road users.

Yet another reason for accidents is when drivers ignore traffic signals that turn to amber from green. Though violating traffic signals appears to be common in many intersections, it is more pronounced on Alagarkoil Road. A senior police officer in the traffic wing said that vehicle population had increased manifold. To cope up with it, the strength had to go up.

People expect the police to regulate over-crowding of vehicles in front of select outlets.

It is dangerous between Tamukkam Ground and Tallakulam temple, writes L. Srikrishna

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