KOCHI: Fatal accidents and near-miss collisions have become a common sight at Athani Junction in Angamaly due to a dangerous curve and unscientific installation of the traffic signal.
The other day, a 28-year-old woman and her six-month-old baby were almost rammed over by a speeding car while they were crossing the road. In January, two youths were killed in an accident on the Athani-Chengamanad road. The two-wheeler they were riding crashed into a wall while trying to avoid a head-on collision with another vehicle.
According to local residents, the poor visibility of the traffic signal is the main reason for collisions. "The junction is on a curve. Most vehicles coming from Angamaly, usually in the upper-speed limit, don't see the traffic signal ahead because of this. When they do see the signal eventually, it will be too late to stop," says Cheriachen E L, a local resident.
Athani Junction, which is a major intersection, is a point connecting Chengamanad/Manjaly, Angamaly and Aluva. "Most of the commuters are either going to or from the airport. They aren't usually familiar with the road. On passing the traffic signal at the airport Junction, most people don't anticipate another signal just 75 metres away," says Thomas John, a shopkeeper.
The battered state of the grills on the divider testifies the frequency and prevalence of accidents in the area. Earlier reports suggested accidents take place in the junction every 30 minutes."We see accidents on a daily basis now. Just because these crashes and collisions are not fatal, the authorities are not taking suitable action," says Cheriachen, a retired FACT employee.
Despite the intensity of the situation, officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) maintain the junction is neither accident-prone nor are the traffic signals installed unscientifically. "There have been no reports stating the traffic signals have been installed unscientifically. Only if accredited agencies give an insight about this, will we be able to take action," said PK Suresh, project director of NHAI.