Traffic jams have become the order of the day on the national highway due to the inordinate delay in the completion of the road expansion works and placing of heavy barricades at important junctions on the Srikakulam-Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam routes. Six-laning works taken up long ago have been going on at a snail’s pace, causing inconvenience to thousands of people. Bhogapuram, Pydibhimavaram and other areas are witnessing unprecedented traffic hold-ups .
Interestingly, traffic snarls are not uncommon even at odd hours and the situation only worsens during peak traffic hours. As a result, the average journey time which is about two hours between Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam has gone up to three hours. The travel time between Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, which used to be about an hour, has reached around one hour and 45 minutes.
For the APSRTC, the worsening traffic situation on these routes has also proved quite expensive as the fuel efficiency of the buses has come down to 5 km per litre, from 5.5 km.
According to APSRTC Srikakulam Deputy Chief Traffic Manager N. Srinivasa Rao, “Drivers have been complaining that the barricades being placed on the national highway by the police are leading to more accidents as the narrow road space being left between the barricades was bringing vehicles too close for comfort. The extended travel time due to the traffic snarls has also been sending passengers’ plans haywire.”
AP Lorry Owners’ Association president M. Janakiram Reddy and North Andhra Transport Association’s Joint Action Committee working president G. Vasu allege that the inordinate delay in completing the works is also contributing to road accidents on the highway.
Need for coordination
“NHAI has failed to put up sign boards about diversions and there are too many damaged stretches on the road which have been left unattended to. And there is no end in sight for the troubles, as there is no clarity over the time it is going to take for completing the works,” they said.
Appealing to the NHAI authorities to complete the road expansion works as early as possible, Lok Satta Party State president Bhisetti Babji has opined that for this to happen, the NHAI and the State government authorities should work in tandem. He says, “The traffic police should remove all barricades on the highway since it is not the right solution to prevent accidents. Only 30% space is being left on the road for passage of vehicles due to placement of barricades at important junctions.”