KERALA

Ensuring safe traffic on city roads

Over 90 important junctions in the City Corporation limits need scientifically-designed traffic islands, traffic actuated signals and traffic police to curb the accidents in the junctions and their vicinity and to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

Two-thirds of the road accidents occur at the junctions or in the vicinity of the junctions, according to studies conducted by National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC). One of the major reasons for the increase in the number of mishaps in the city was the lack of properly designed intersections, according to NATPAC's chief project coordinator, Mahesh Chand.

Many of the important junctions such as Murinjapalam, Plamood, Model School, Vellayambalam and Sasthamangalam, which witness traffic snarls and minor accidents during peak hours, are due for redesigning.

Though the State capital had the benefit of well-designed junctions in the early 1980's, many of these junctions are long overdue for remodification. Many of the innovative proposals implemented decades ago to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic, no more serve the intended purpose.

Vellayamblam junction, where the roundabout had been quite effective till 10 years ago, has become a traffic congestion point with minor accidents taking place frequently. Transport planners feel that it may soon become an accident-prone location with the increase in the traffic volume. The solution is to provide a flyover, it is pointed out.

The traffic island at Kowdiar also needs redesigning in view of the flat complex coming up near the junction and the likely increase in traffic volume from the Peroorkada and Pattom side. Confusion also prevails at Peroorkada, Sasthamangalam and General Hospital junctions, where there are two roundabouts.

Though road widening is necessary, it is not sufficient to meet the safety requirement. With the road widening, several junctions have become "accident black spots''. Plamood junction on the Pattom-PMG road is due for redesigning. Pattom junction itself requires a flyover. The same situation is prevailing at Kesavadasapuram junction and further down to Ulloor junction.

The bell-mouth area of the minor roads merging with major roads such as Pattom-Ulloor need to be widened, says Dr. Chand. The ideal situation would have been to acquire at least a 20-metre wide road up to 150 metres on all the minor roads.

Flyovers are needed in the busy Vellayamblam, Pattom, Cotton Hill and Model School junctions to ensure smooth flow of traffic. The accident-prone junctions such as Trivandrum Tennis Club and Kuravankonam, where six roads meet, need traffic islands.

With traffic growing at the rate of around 10 per cent per annum in the city, junctions need to be redesigned within a span of eight to 10 years. Besides, traffic signals need improvement in majority of junctions. Bus stops should be shifted from junctions and traffic police posted in major junctions.

The improvements in these junctions can bring down the number of mishaps by about 500 per year, according to the NATPAC official. It also implies a saving of Rs. 10 crores per annum on reduction in accident cost alone. At least 30 junctions can be improved with the saving in accident cost.

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