KOCHI: Unscientific U-turns not only chock traffic but are also potential death traps for commuters. It’s sad to note that very few U-turns in the city take into consideration traffic flow patterns or the safety of commuters. But in a welcome move, the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac) has decided to conduct a study on marking Kochi’s U-turns scientifically.
“The chances of accidents at U-turns in the city are high. And we can say this without the backing of any studies. The study has been planned as part of the ‘Accident-Free Kochi’ project, which kicked off last year,” said Samson Mathew, director of Natpac.
There are also allegations that U-turns are constructed to serve the interests of some people and businesses.
In a recent investigation, TNIE found that the nearly 4.5 km-long stretch between Palarivattom and High Court Jn has 17 major U-turns. Banerji Road, which is now in the news for major gridlocks, is a major villain. National highways, MG Road, Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, and many other key arteries fare no better.
The police and public works departments, which implement U-turns, seem least concerned about the safety of commuters. “U-turns require ample space. They need streets wide enough for drivers to complete the manoeuvre. However, most of the U-turns have been demarcated without following safety aspects. We will conduct the study and submit a report to the road safety authorities for immediate action,” Samson added.