Kollam city suffers from traffic blight

KOLLAM Nov. 1. The director of the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac), T. Elangovan, has said that the number of accidents in Kollam city has been increasing at an alarming rate and that the Chinnakada area has been identified as the most accident-prone location in the city.

He was presenting a paper on ``Traffic engineering and management plans for Kollam: problems and challenges'', at the technical session of a seminar on Kollam development organised by Desabhimani here on Friday.

Apart from Chinnakada, the other accident-prone areas in the city are the Bishop Jerome Nagar area, Kadappakada, Polayathode, S.N. College area, Thattamala, Pallimukku, Madan Nada, Craven School area, Ayathil junction, Taluk office junction and Chemmamukku junction.

Mr. Elangovan, in his paper, says that the city suffers from traffic blight, as Kollam has not received its due share in terms of infrastructure development, traffic improvement and capacity augmentation.

Traffic congestions in the city are mainly due to the narrow bridges, kerb side parking, loading and unloading activities on the roads within the central business areas during peak hours, over utilisation of major roads, frequent closure of the railway level crossing gates, unplanned bus stops and absence of pedestrian crossing facilities.

As per studies conducted by the Natpac, the volume of traffic on the main roads has far exceeded its capacity and at the Chinnakada junction, the traffic volume is more than 4,000 vehicles per hour during the peak period.

Mr. Elangovan says that while the city requires a four-lane divided carriageway with segregated bus bays and a three-meter wide footpath on either side, what is available is hardly a two-lane carriageway with nominal footpath and no proper bus stops.

Even after years of construction, the National Highway bypass in Kollam is yet to be completed.

Thus heavy commercial traffic continues to pass through the Chinnakada corridor. Considering the delay in the completion of the bypass, a mini bypass or an inner ring road is required to relieve the traffic load on the existing corridor at the Chinnakada area. Hence, certain road development schemes are urgently required, the paper says.

Mr. Elangovan suggests that the requirement could be developed after the completion of the road bridge over the level crossing at the SP Office junction by linking the bridge to Pandakasala Bridge and providing further connection to the National Highway 47. From the other side, a link road from the KSRTC bus depot to Asramam and Kadappakada and an outer ring road from Pallimukku to Eravipuram proceeding to Kochupilamoodu and Vady forming a coastal road.

The city is lacking in sufficient parking space and areas for loading and unloading activities. There is hardly any location where the motorist can park vehicles without causing hindrance to traffic. Loading and unloading activities on the busy commercial roads need selective enforcement by the police.

The imperative need is to install traffic signals at the Chinnakada over-bridge junction, Kadappakada, High School, Civil Station and Railway Station junctions.

Loading and unloading activities have to be restricted during the daytime at Paikada, Thamarakulam, Chamakada and along the Chinnakada Main Road. Mr. Elangovan recommends private participation in developing parking lots at some of the central business areas.

Mr. Elangovan concludes his paper by suggesting that road traffic should remain in tune with proper planning and design so as to fit the traffic by regulation and control measures.

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