Udupi, April 25, 2016: Vehicle drivers on the new four-lane National Highway 66 from Mangaluru towards Udupi during night have to suddenly use the brakes posing serious dangers as they encounter barricades without any warning at certain points.
Barricades placed in a haphazard way have in fact become traffic hazards on the highway as they do not have any reflectors and drivers notice them only when they are close too close. It is common for many vehicles to hit the barricades, as drivers do not have enough warning to stop.
Not only heavy vehicle drivers and others, even cyclists have become victims of such barricades. Recently, Panambur Abdul Khader from Mangaluru, who pedals a single-speed bicycle, hit one such barricade at Mukka early in the morning while riding back from Udupi. Fortunately, he escaped worse fate.
These barricades can be seen at Haleyangadi and Mulki, ahead of Mukka. Undoubtedly, the junctions where the barricades have been placed witness heavy pedestrian crossing as well.
In contrast, just across the DK district border, Udupi police too have placed barricades at many places, including Kaup, Katapadi, Udyavara, Brahmavara, Sasthana, Saligrama, Kota, Kumbhasi and Kundapur but all these barricades have reflectors and get illuminated from the headlights of vehicles during nights, giving enough time for drivers to apply brakes and avoid hitting the barricades.
Responding to the shortcoming, Mangaluru Police Commissioner M. Chandra Sekhar, under whom NH 66 stretch up to Mulki falls, said that reflectors should have been affixed to the barricades and there is no excuse for having not done it. He issued immediate directions to the concerned to rectify the matter. PC Chandra Sekhar said that the police are compelled to see reduced speed of vehicles at busy junctions, towns or villages, particularly after the highway was made four-lane. They cannot ask the National Highway Authority of India to erect speed breakers as it is prohibited by law.
The only option that remains with the police to curtail speed is placing barricades at such places. This, however, should have been done more professionally, the commissioner said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) Sanjeev M. Patil stated that reflectors would be in place in a day or two.
Further, barricades placed zigzag at busy junctions could be done away with during nights if the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) adopts scientific safety measures.
The authority has installed cat’s eye reflectors along the four-lane NH 75 between Hassan and Nelamangala. While the police place barricades during the day time at busy junctions, they remove them during nights as the cat’s eye reflectors adequately caution vehicle drivers when approaching junctions.