Dysfunctional street lights give jitters to motorists on NH stretch

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Kochi Corporation are facing flak for dysfunctional street lights and blinker lights at U-turns on the accident-prone Vyttila-Edappally NH Bypass.

This has resulted in both pedestrians and motorists standing a high risk of meeting with accidents on the 6-km corridor which is used by an estimated 80,000 passenger car units (PCUs) every day.

The traffic police said overspeeding and dysfunctional street lights could be the reasons for last week’s car accident near Palarivattom that claimed the life of Miss Kerala 2019, the runner-up title holder, and a co-passenger.

The darkness that engulfs the NH Bypass has made it tough for pedestrians to safely cross over to the other side and to even walk along service roads.

NHAI officials said instructions had been issued to the firm that was entrusted with the operation, maintenance, and toll collection (OMT) on the Edappally-Aroor NH Bypass stretch, to ensure that blinkers were operational at all U-turns and to prune branches of trees that hampered lights.

Sources in the Kochi Corporation, which is vested with the responsibility of funding the installation of street lights and their upkeep, said the annual maintenance contract (AMC) mode might have to be adopted to ensure that street lights were in working condition, since damage to cables and other systems often resulted in street lights in the entire road corridor and high-mast lights at junctions becoming dysfunctional. “On its part, the NHAI’s patrol team ought to report such instances to the agency concerned. This is most often not done. They are keen only on toll collection,” they added.

Meanwhile, KSEB sources said its responsibility was mainly to switch on and off lights and ensure power supply up to the control points. The onus of their upkeep is with the civic agencies. Faced with a similar situation beneath the Palarivattom-Ernakulam North Bridge metro corridor, officials of the KSEB and KMRL (which resurfaced the road) did a joint inspection, and defects like faulty cabling were rectified, they added.

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