Frequent accidents on Karur Highway raises hackles of residents

A string of recent road accidents along the Tiruchi-Thindukarai section of the Tiruchi-Karur Highway has caused concern among residents of the suburbs situated along the highway stretch.

Commuters traversing the stretch every day have been facing the brunt of the problem. Most of the victims have been two-wheeler riders hit by over-speeding vehicles on the widened highway stretch, residents complain.

The 11-km stretch road stretch, which runs between the Cauvery River and Tiruchi-Karur railway line, was widened some months ago after persistent demands from suburban residents over the past few years so as to check accidents. The work was executed at an estimate of ₹55 crore under the Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme 2019-20. The road, with sharp and dangerous curves, was being widened from its earlier width of seven metres to up to 10.5 metres.

Yet, there are no signs of the road accidents coming down. According to statistics obtained from the Police Department under the Right to Information Act by P.Ayyarappan, president, Road Users Welfare Association, five persons have lost their lives in road accidents in Jeeyapuram police limits from January 1 to April 23. According to Mr. Ayyarappan, seven more persons were killed in accidents since May 23, taking the total fatalities to 12 on the road stretch so far this year.

During 2021, 21 persons lost their lives in road accidents in Jeeyapuram limits and 39 suffered grievous injuries. The number of fatalities was 19 in 2020 and 17 in 2019.

Frequent accidents were also being reported under the Pettavaithalai police limits, beyond Jeeyapuram, and two persons have lost their lives in the first four months of the year under the station limits, Mr.Ayyarapppan says.

According to the information provided to Mr.Ayyarappan by the police, a joint study was taken up by the police along with the Highways and Transport Departments in February and measures such as building centre medians on a few stretches, placing barricades and caution sign boards were suggested. But only a few of the suggestions have been implemented so far, he says.

Mr.Ayyarappan feels that the authorities, especially the Highways Department, should come up with measures to check over-speeding by motorists and improve road safety. Most of the accidents take place at Kambarasampettai, Muthurasanallur, Allur and Jeeyapuram/Thindukarai areas and also near Thiruparathurai, Perugamani, Sirugamani and Pettavaithalai, he says.

R.Thiruvengadam, a resident of Allur, observes that motorists should understand that the expansion of road was not to facilitate driving at high speed but only to relieve congestion. Despite the notified speed limits, most motorists drive at high speed. “The barricades placed at some places are not of much help; the authorities should evolve ways to check over-speeding. The authorities could expedite building the by-pass stretch between Panchapur and Thindukarai as it could help reduce the traffic on the Tiruchi-Thindukarai stretch on Karur highway,” he suggests.

Sources in the Highways Department said the road width on the stretch was not adequate to build centre median. An official of the department, when contacted, said that “all road furniture” has been provided on the stretch and the accidents were not due to any shortcoming in the road infrastructure. However, road safety measures would be strengthened on the stretch, he said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 10:24:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/frequent-accidents-on-karur-highway-raises-hackles-of-residents/article65470429.ece