Commuters on Tiruchy-Pudukkottai national highway in a spot over non-functional traffic signals

Traffic signals were installed at the Jail corner and in front of the international airport in 2019. But these were operational only for a few months since installation.
 A traffic signal is working at Jail Corner near Tiruchy City Commissioner office.
A traffic signal is working at Jail Corner near Tiruchy City Commissioner office.Express | M K Ashok Kumar.

TIRUCHY: People residing along the Tiruchy-Pudukkottai national highway and those frequenting the area complain of a tough time navigating through traffic, particularly near the international airport and the city police commissionerate as the traffic signals at either places have functioned no longer than six months into their installation.

To reduce the incidence of accidents and traffic pile-up, the city traffic police in 2019 installed a traffic signal at the Jail corner near the office of the Commissioner of Police at a cost of Rs 1.5 lakhs. While this was expected to benefit commuters to areas like Kesavan Nagar, Ponmalaipatti, Kilakurichy and Kilakalkandarkottai, the signal was only used during the test run.

Similarly, a traffic signal was installed in front of the international airport that same year to benefit commuters to areas like Anbil Nagar, Thendral Nagar and KK Nagar. The signal, too, was operational only for about six months.

Worried over the accidents and traffic pile-ups in the areas, locals say they raised the matter of non-functional traffic signals with the traffic police several times but to no avail.

Dr M Gnanavel, a resident of Sundarraj Nagar, said, "As the stretch is a national highway, vehicles, especially those heading to the airport, move at high speed. Thus crossing the road is not only a big challenge but also takes time. Commuting the stretch every day, I often am witness to accidents. There is no point in having a traffic signal if it does not work.”

Mentioning pedestrians as the worst affected, he said, “With vehicles coming from all sides, they complain that nobody stops for them."

M Vinoth, an autorickshaw driver near the airport, said, "With the traffic signal not working, vehicles do not slow down at the junction. There should at least be someone controlling the traffic manually. Rash drivers add to the woes. Sometimes ambulances get stuck in the traffic."

When enquired, a city traffic police official attached to Cantonment told TNIE, "We switched off the signal at Jail corner as there is not much traffic on the link roads. We will operate it when needed. As for the airport signal, it is faulty. We will fix it soon."

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