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Absence of signboards, cause for accidents

Not for purpose: The signboard kept near Kongandhaanpaarai Junction on the Tirunelveli Nagercoil National Highway wrongly guides the motorists.

Not for purpose: The signboard kept near Kongandhaanpaarai Junction on the Tirunelveli Nagercoil National Highway wrongly guides the motorists.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Tuesday’s accident that took place near here killing 15 people has once again brought to light the problem faced by drivers using the national highway where four-lane work is in progress.

In the absence of proper signboards, barricades and speed breakers driving requires extra caution. Any miscalculation on the part of the driver results in an accident.

Signboards alerting the drivers on diversions ahead have not been placed at several areas, which is the main reason for accidents, drivers feel. Two boards – the first one at a distance of one km before the diversion and the second one at 500 metres before the rerouting point – should be kept with reflectors, they suggest.

One of the diversion boards kept near the Konganthaanpaarai Junction on the Tirunelveli – Nagercoil National Highway guides the drivers to the wrong lane. Even as the drivers have to take a left diversion at this point as road widening work has already been completed, it asks them to take the right diversion, which may be disastrous as speeding vehicles will have to travel for about 2 km on the same stretch with just 30 feet width, drivers point out.

“Since the van driver took the wrong diversion due to non-availability of a signboard, it led him to the wrong lane that ultimately resulted in the accident and loss of 15 lives. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which is executing the four-lane work through contractors, should ensure that all mandatory precautionary measures are taken by the executing agencies,” said S. Murugan, a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus driver, operating his vehicle on the Tirunelveli – Madurai NH every day. Wherever the newly laid road ends, no gradient is given at the ending points and hence the speeding vehicles while crossing these danger zones fly in the air for few metres, particularly during night, the drivers complain.

While most of the metal barricades do not carry reflectors and become potential threat to every road-user during night as they have not been fixed on the road with a bolt. “During windy season, the barricades accidentally fall on the vehicles, causing accidents. A good number of accidents had been reported in the past few years caused by falling barricades on the highways,” said a sub-inspector of police, attached to a highway patrol team.

While regretting the recent accident, sources in the NHAI said contractors executing the four-lane work had been advised to take corrective measures in all points requiring attention to avoid accidents.

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