Traffic police launch safety drive on Valley’s newly widened roadIn a bid to minimise the increasing number of accidents along the eight-lane Kalanki-Koteshwor road, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has started a week-long traffic awareness drive.
In a bid to minimise the increasing number of accidents along the eight-lane Kalanki-Koteshwor road, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has started a week-long traffic awareness drive.
“The road infrastructure is very unsafe here,” said SSP Basanta Kumar Panta, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division. Beginning Sunday, the division has been coordinating with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Circle Satdobato to distribute leaflets, mobilise volunteers and to request people to cross the road in groups. During office hours, 115 vehicles pass the Satdobato intersection in one minute, the circle said.
The 10.5km road section was widened by China. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi officially handed over the project to the Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project on January 28.
The road, which is wide and sleek, lacks basic amenities for pedestrians such as overhead bridges and zebra crossings. Some have even dubbed certain sections of the stretch “death trap”.
The traffic division’s recent data show 10 people were killed and 362 injured along the road section so far this fiscal year starting July 17, 2018. The report shows 951 vehicles including two-wheelers were damaged in 442 accidents.
“This is a worrisome report. That’s why we have come up with this new initiative,” said Inspector Bhagirath Regmi, chief of the Satdobato Traffic Police Circle. He said traffic police have been coordinating with local clubs, schools and local people to raise awareness about road safety.
“The road itself is unsafe here. In addition to that, pedestrians do not follow basic traffic rules and cross the road haphazardly,” said Regmi. There have been many hit-and-run cases. Due to the lack of CCTV cameras, police often fail to trace those involved in such cases. “We have deployed volunteers to tell the people to cross the road in groups,” said Regmi.
The China-funded project was completed at a total cost of Rs5.13 billion. It lacks zebra crossings, traffic lights, information boards, speed control, designated parking stations, median, designated U-turns and enough pedestrian overpasses.
On the other hand, cycling enthusiasts and advocates have expressed their concerns that a cycle lane was not built along the road despite the initial agreement saying there would be one.
City planners said traffic awareness was necessary to help the public. “I don’t think the government will fix these problems very soon,” said urban planner and former government secretary Kishor Thapa, asking pedestrians and drivers to be more cautious. “The government has not been to fix defunct traffic lights at various intersections in the Capital for years.”
Officials said speed was one of the reasons behind the accidents along the newly finished road. “We’re going to use speed guns. We won’t let vehicles drive at speeds over 40kmph,” said Regmi. Traffic police plan to put up traffic signals along the road in coordination with the Department of Roads.
At present, traffic police have deployed a total of 27 officers along the road section, and they will be the key persons to make pedestrians aware of road safety. Four traffic personnel at Koteshwor, two at Balkumari, three at Gwarko, three at Satdobato, two at Chapagaun Dobato, three at Nakkhu, two at Sanepa, two at Balkhu, one
at Khasibazaar, and five at Kalanki are deployed every day.