How safe is Kalanki-Koteshwar road?

Published On: February 10, 2019 07:20 AM NPT By: Biken K Dawadi

KATHMANDU, Feb 9: The newly widened Koteshwar-Kalanki road section has been plagued by doubts ever since its inception, with stakeholders pointing out technical lapses . As a result of these lapses, accidents have proliferated on the road section at an alarming rate. 

The 10.4 km road section is just 0.5 percent of the total road length in the Valley and 3 percent of the total length of major roads in the capital. But according to data maintained by the Metropolitan Police Traffic Office (MTPO), Baggikhana, this road section accounted for 13 percent of the total number of road accidents in the Valley in the first six months of the current fiscal year. The Valley has a total of 2,082 km of roads, out of which 389.31 km are major roads.

The Kalanki-Koteshwar section has seen 542 accidents in the first six months of fiscal year 2018/19 , or 13 percent of the 4,081 road accidents that took place in the Valley in that time period.

MTPO data on road accidents also shows that there have been 10 deaths, 17 cases of critical injury and 362 cases of minor injury in the road section in the six months. In the same period, there have been 132 deaths, 139 cases of critical injury and 2842 cases of minor injury in the entire capital.

Experts claimed that the very nature of the road section is at fault as it is not suitable for its surroundings. They said that the road stretch had been designed as an expressway, and an expressway is not generally constructed through areas with thick human settlement.

Transportation engineer Shubhechchha Bhatta claims that such an expressway should not have been constructed through the urban human settlements that are situated along its entire length. “It seems a proper study was not done when the road was designed,” she told Republica, “Urban roads do not have the characteristics of an expressway.”

Bhatta emphasized that more pedestrian bridges and improved dividers are needed along the road section and the speed limit should be reduced if there is to be greater safety along it. The speed limit has been set at 50 km/hr, which is very high for an urban road.

MTPO has claimed that most of the accidents along Koteshwar-Kalanki are due to speeding and lack of road signs, pedestrian bridges and zebra crossings . Senior Superintendent of Police Basanta Panta, the head of MTPO, claimed that lack of knowledge among motorists on how to drive on such roads has also been causing accidents .

“MTPO has realized the need to disseminate knowledge about safety on such roads and launched an awareness campaign,” he said. “More pedestrian bridges are also needed.”

SSP Panta informed Republica that the Department of Roads has started a road safety audit to improve safety on the Kalanki-Koteshwar stretch.

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