Changanassery: The 19-km stretch of Main Central (MC) Road between Changanassery and Kottayam towns has become a death trap after the road was spruced up in the recent past, raising concerns among travellers as well as the authorities. There are eight danger zones along the stretch where accidents are waiting to happen. Even before the road widening the stretch between these towns in Kottayam district is notorious for accidents, though not of the scale of that part of the National Highway to the west of the arterial MC Road.
A narrow bridge on a wide road is the issue here. Lack of protective walls makes the situation worse. Vehicles coming at high speed suddenly swerve to enter the narrow bridge, leading to accidents. Police are on duty at Palathra bypass junction, but the haste shown by drivers to cross the traffic signal often causes mishaps.
This is a spot where several byroads join the M C Road. Small vehicles like two-wheeler carelessly enter the M C Road here, risking accidents. Many large vehicles are forced to swerve while trying to save small vehicles and end up ramming the nearby compound walls.
Six people lost their lives over the last three years here. More accidents are taking place after the road was developed. The risk is posed by steep ascends and descends on the road. Moreover, the road from Kavalam joins the M C Road here and vehicles travelling on both roads end up smashing into each other.
The road descends very steeply from Seminary Pady bus stop to Puthenpalam. Vehicles often lose control while coming down the incline and skid and fall into the Puthen canal. Last week, a bus had overturned at the spot, causing injuries to many passengers. Statistics show that on an average, five two-wheeler riders are injured in accidents at the bridge here every month. At least one person dies every three months.
Side roads joining the broad stretch of M C Road make this stretch dangerous. Display boards and houses block the view of vehicles entering the M C Road from Bukaana road. Moreover, vehicles from Kottayam fail to notice the byroad on the left.
Pallom Post Office
Even though M C Road has been widened, the compound wall of the post office is yet to be demolished. Vehicles travelling at high speed do not anticipate the wall of the post office and occasionally ram it.
Here danger lurks as private and KSRTC buses travelling to Kottayam stop between two signals and passengers alight and board the vehicles. But the buses often fail to move even after the signal changes. On other occasions, the vehicles scramble to proceed even as the signal turns red. All these occasionaly lead to collisions. Another cause of accidents here is vehicles travelling on the wrong lane.
Speeding along the four-lane stretch and risky overtaking at Kodimatha bridge often lead to mishaps here. Vehicles trying to enter Market Road and those travelling at high speeds on the main road also regularly collide.
Several other problems exist along the Changanassery - Kottayam stretch. They include:
• Illegal shops and trade on the roadside at Mulankuzha, Cement Kavala and Palathra. Sales of snacks and pan masala at several spots.
• Bus stops are adjacent to the traffic signals at Manippuzha, Chingavanam and Outpost.
• Solar streetlights installed as part of KSTP road widening project are not working at many places.
• Bus bays built for the convenience of passengers are now utilised as parking areas by private vehicles.
• At Mariyappally, bus waiting shelters are turned into roadside eateries at night.
• The alignment of the roads is not scientific at stretches such as Puthenpalam-Seminary Pady and Thuruthy Kana- Punnamoodu. Moreover, the banking at the curves is not proper which leads to accidents, say the police.