That Deadly Nugegoda Flyover Bridge
This column has repeatedly, yes, ad nauseam warned that the ‘Nugegoda Flyover’ is an accident waiting to happen! And they do, with alarming regularity; sometimes needlessly snuffing out the lives of a citizen or two or maiming them for life! Why is this particular ‘Flyover Bridge’ so perilous to life and limb? [a] it’s narrow [b] It has a single lane both ways and [c] although a ‘Double Line’ is painted in the centre – many errant drivers and death-wish riders pay scant respect for this ‘Double Line’, stupidly crossing it whilst over-taking, sometimes blind, at the crest of the Flyover Bridge in the face of on-coming traffic – suicidal! Isn’t this then a Tragedy waiting to Happen?
That totally preventable ‘Accident’
And the ‘Tragedy Waiting to Happen’ did manifest itself so horrifyingly at crack of dawn just a few weeks ago when an Army Pick-Up legitimately driving on its designated single lane suddenly came across this humungous bus overtaking another bus crossing the double line and slap bang on path of Army Pick-Up. Spare a thought for the serviceman behind wheel of the Pick-Up. He was literally hemmed in with nary a centimeter to maneuver out of harm’s way: the inevitable and sickening crash occurred where the Pick-Up was reduced to a mangled heap of twisted metal, killing one of the occupants and seriously injuring another.
As law-abiding and concerned motorists we demand that the ‘Killer Driver’ of the Bus be tried for murder – nothing else, period!
Ban Buses, Container Trucks & Tuk Tuks using Flyover Nugegoda Bridge
Unlike the newer Rajagiriya Flyover [which should be the model to be replicated as ‘Flyover Bridges elsewhere] with its wide two lanes and the opposite traffic securely separated by a steel/concrete barrier, the Nugegoda Flyover is primitive at best and a death trap at most times!
Until a new ‘Rajagiriya Type’ Flyover is re-constructed at Nugegoda to replace the present killer Nugegoda Flyover Over, we insist that the newly elected ‘Strong Government’ flexes its ample muscles and decrees an immediate ban on Buses, Container Trucks & 3-Wheelers from using this Nugegoda Flyover Over Bridge, taking cue from authorities who similarly banned buses, heavy trucks from using the mostly ‘useless’ Flyover’ at Dehiwela.
Trishaws too to be banned as most of them find it challenging to ascend the gradient of the Flyover Bridge, thus slowing down traffic significantly - exacerbating traffic gridlock. On the other hand 3-wheelers with newer engines and rash, youthful riders tend to zoom up and down the Nugegoda Flyover and replicate the deadly antics of bus drivers: crossing the double lines and overtaking dangerously, thus severely endangering precious lives of passengers within.
Case for an elevated highway from Kelani Bridge to Kottawa
As Kottawa is now the ‘Transport Hub’ or gateway to Galle, Matara, Hambantotte, Mattala and indeed even Katunayake Airports and soon the Central/North Expressways, it is logical that a top priority of Road Development authorities is to construct a toll paying Elevated Highway to Kottawa from say, the New Kelani Bridge with exit/entry interchanges at Maharagama, Nugegoda, Narahenpita and Borella. This will have a significant and positive impact on the free flow of traffic. Presently it’s a nightmare to either travel to Kottawa or Kelani Bridge during rush hour – negating the positives associated with Expressway Travels. After all isn’t it ludicrous to waste one to two hours merely attempting to wade through horrendous traffic jams from Colombo to Kottawa – only to spend just an hour to drive from Kottawa to Galle on Expressway!
If You Drink, Don’t drive! And Traffic Lights…
We applaud decision of the Government to come down hard on those who Drink & Drive – they have no place on our roads. Such irresponsible behavior must be eliminated for good, period! At the same time Traffic Police could be more gainfully deployed on traffic accident prevention rather than hilariously flaying their mostly scrawny limbs about at road intersections after inexplicably switching off ‘Signal Lights’ at junctions.
Our plea: Let the electronic Traffic Signal Lights spending stacks of foreign exchange, do the job they have been minutely calibrated for!
Ever seen Traffic Cops chatting to each other, wasting their time?
This is not simply rhetorical musing but candid observations; isn’t it a crime to see Cops checking their phones or chatting to each other at top of lanes or at intersections in groups whilst one of them will saunter languidly to lead [mislead, really!] the traffic – stopping when on Green or signaling traffic to move when Red! No, this is reality and not a sick joke!
Authorities must crack the whip, further!
We expect the Traffic Cops to proactively assist in accident prevention – not to multiply traffic snarls! For a change some of them can be in mufti and apprehend those who ‘do’ U-Turns here there and everywhere! Trishaws are the biggest offenders who seem to have an obsession with making U-Turns everywhere! And yes, no one, even the Traffic Cops turn a blind eye to these accident causing antics! Instead of spying on vehicles that have momentarily crossed an unbroken single white line why not concentrate on those who willfully cross Double Lines which is an absolute dangerous practice. What about taking action on drivers/riders who do not stop at top of a side lane before entering a main road – now these are examples of accident causing acts which hardly receive the attention it deserves from our Traffic Police. Not rocket science, here!
Be Prepared and minutely Plan ahead before embarking on that drive – it pays! Dyan Seneviratne