Concern over safety as more trucks take narrow Vypeen-Munambam highway

Concerns are also being raised about the width of the numerous bridges along the Vypeen-Munambam highway and their ability to hold the tonnage of fully-loaded container trailers.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Two persons died instantly after their car rammed a container trailer along the narrow Vypeen-Munambam State Highway around midnight last week.

It was symptomatic of the problem being faced by the 25-km highway after it is being increasingly taken by huge container trailers, mostly from the northern States, operating to and from the Vallarpadam Transshipment Container Terminal.

Avoiding the toll plaza at Mulavukad along the Container Terminal Road and saving a few kilometres and by extension fuel cost, being the incentives to take the narrow highway, causing considerable hardships to other motorists and even pedestrians.

“They pose a threat to smaller vehicles, especially during night time. The road is too narrow to give way when big container trailers come from the opposite directions. We are not asking to stop them from using the road altogether but they definitely should be regulated,” said Supri Kattuparambil, chairman of Vypeen-based Yathra Samrakshana Samithi.

Officials with PWD (Roads), which owns the highway, said that except for the 8 km, the rest of the road has been renovated as per bituminous macadam bituminous concrete (BMBC) method and the rest is set to be renovated soon after the rains. “The quality of the road would not be an issue in accommodating the movement of container trailers. But yes, the width could be a problem somewhat,” said officials.

As of now, there is no proposal to widen the road though PWD was open to such a proposal.

Concerns are also being raised about the width of the numerous bridges along the highway and their ability to hold the tonnage of the fully-loaded container trailers.

“We have renovated eight bridges so far. While the remaining bridges have to be renovated, there have been no reports of damage or lack of strength to them except for minor issues to the one at Malippuram,” said PWD (Bridges) officials.

However, officials admit that most of the bridges were narrow and had no pedestrian walkway, which may pose problems owing to the frequent movement of trailers through them.

Besides, the increasing traffic of container trailers with considerable height has been wreaking havoc with the low hanging cables criss-crossing the road along many points along the highway.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 12:36:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/concern-over-safety-as-more-trucks-take-narrow-vypeen-munambam-highway/article37194947.ece

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