A safe-corridor road safety project, aiming at zero accidents, will be implemented on the 77-km stretch from Vettu Road, near Kazhakuttam, to Adoor in Pathanamthitta in the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP).
The Main Central Road stretch has been selected for the safety project as the number of road accidents has been mounting even after the development of about 100 km of its southern course to world standards in the first phase.
Besides bringing down the accident rate to zero, the project aims at creating awareness of safe practices among road users; quick evacuation of, and immediate medical aid for, those injured in accidents; first-aid training to shopkeepers and labourers who usually rush to the help of the injured; and enforcement of rules by the Motor Vehicles Department and the police.
The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), co-chair of the Safer Roads Pillar of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, has been roped in for the project. “iRAP has carried out a road safety survey for taking up the project, and we are awaiting its recommendations,” a top KSTP official told The Hindu.
iRAP’s work includes inspecting high-risk roads and developing star ratings and safer roads investment plans, tracking road safety performance so that funding agencies such as the World Bank in the case of the KSTP can assess the benefits of their investments. iRAP’s programmes are active in Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The authorities have set up a working group with the officials of the departments of Motor Vehicles, Police, Health Services, Education and Public Works and the Kerala Road Safety Authority. The group has visited the stretch to know the ground situation. A baseline survey on the stretch is going on, and an action plan will be prepared soon, the official said.
Illegal advertisement boards have been removed, but those on private land remain as the authorities do not have the legal backing to remove them. Steps have been taken to remove encroachments on the road.
Forty-one acres of excess land have been identified on the stretch to be levelled and given for parking of vehicles. This is expected to prevent illegal parking at and near the junctions and avoid congestion.
Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju said the government had plans to extend the programme on other stretches developed under the KSTP if it registered success between Vettu Road and Adoor. The Public Works Department was keen to execute it on all roads in the State.
A Kovalam-Kollam road safety programme chalked out by the Kerala Police, which was inaugurated on February 11, 2010, and a 67-km demonstration corridor from Chakka in Thiruvananthapuram to Mevaram in Kollam mooted in the first phase of the KSTP have failed to take off.
Keywords: Kerala State Transport Project, safe corridor project, road safety, Kerala road accidentsc