Giving a sliver of hope to the millions of Keralites hoping for a better driving experience on the NH-47, it seems likely that the saner minds at the NHAI may send the "all-party" proposal to the one place it deserves to reach - the waste-bin (or the paper shredder considering how high-tech Government offices are getting!)!
"In fact, NHAI chairman Brijeswar Singh, who attended the all-party meeting on Tuesday, categorically rejected the demand by political parties.``You can build a road of 30-metre width, but it won’t be a National Highway. It will only be a state highway,’’ Singh sarcastically told the meeting. In his introductory speech, the chairman had tried to convince the participants about the necessity of 45-metre-wide NH in Kerala."
And about the crucial question of road safety:
"`If the width is further reduced to 30 metre, the first casualty will be road safety,’’ Singh told the meeting.The first priority of NHAI while designing roads having 4.5-metre-wide medians, service roads on both sides and scientific road markings is road safety. Scientific studies conducted by the Surface Transport Ministry testify to the necessity for a 45-metre-wide highway.
According to a study conducted on NH-47, the traffic density on the road was 66,000 passenger car units(PCU). By now, it has risen to over one lakh PCU. The Surface Transport Ministry specifies that 4-lane roads are a must wherever the traffic density is more than 35,000 PCU. Going by this standard, the State’s National Highways need to be eight-lane."
I wonder if anybody amongst the powers-that-be are listening yet? Most of the media and a bevy of self-proclaimed experts have written in praise of the suicidal decision to curtail the width of the National Highways.
I also wonder whether these folks care to remember that significant lengths of the NH-47 in the Thrissur and Ernakulam districts have already been widened to 45 m and that some of it is either already being tolled or all set to be tolled (Aroor - Marad being a case in point). Does only Southern Kerala deserve narrow roads?! Are our lives less valuable or is the State Capital a lesser among equals?!