Getting through Kiribathgoda town particularly in the evening after work is a real nightmare. Even the morning is equally bad, creating a huge pileup of vehicles along the main road.
In particular, in the evening, to move from Tyre Corporation Junction in Dalugama to the Kiribathgoda junction it takes over 40 to 45 minutes at the minimum. The resultant traffic jam is a menace to all with stationary vehicles emitting carbon dioxide polluting the environment and the idle burning of fuel causing financial loss to owners as well as to the country.
On some days, one can see a few police personnel trying to control the traffic while on other days it is a free for all. The pathetic situation that prevails from around 5 p.m. till almost 8 p.m. causes much chagrin to the road users and often resulting in angry verbal exchanges.
This article is an attempt the find a solution that will ameliorate the existing situation and try to bring an improvement in the traffic flow through the town.
The stretch of dual carriageway from Tyre Corporation junction to Kiribathgoda town, a distance of probably less than one km, has six accesses to the opposite lane where motorists can do an about-turn.
It so happens that the container trucks, too, become active only around 5 p.m. and clog the road, causing immense stress to others. Often these trucks are empty and would be going a very short distance. On the contrary people who have finished work in the Colombo city are going home to faraway places such as Yakkala, Nittambuwa and even beyond.
On the other hand, the many motorists, including passenger vans and buses take a detour from Thorana Junction via Waragoda Road and the Old Kandy Road and opposite the St. Francis de Sales’ Church take a turn to left to enter the Colombo-Kandy dual carriageway. By this unethical action the free flow of traffic along the Kandy Road is interrupted, causing immense traffic jams.
No one can doubt the fact that motorists are free to choose their route, yet the action by few is causing hardships to all. To deter this action, the Traffic Police in Kiribathgoda only needs to take few simple strategies so that the people as a whole will be benefited.
A road should never be considered a non-perishable asset. It is an asset that perish with time because during the peak hours there should be optimal utilisation at higher efficiency. The present situation is not optimal at all as motor vehicles often remain stationary for long periods of time.
The road network too has a revenue value to the national economy and efficient use means higher productivity. The roads are perishable by virtue of the lack of optimal usage at the peak and shoulder-peak hours and absence of such strategies mean enormous loss of time to commuters and motorists.
My simple proposals to alleviate this situation are as follows.
To gate the dual carriage way passage access to opposite lanes near the Damro Showroom and the other access further down near the petrol station from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Vehicles that enter the Kandy Road through the lane opposite the Church to be allowed to make an about-turn at the access point next to St. Jude Road.
About turn near the LECO office too to be closed during the two-and-a-half hour period from 5 p.m.
To persuade all container vehicle yards to not send their vehicles during this period and support the drive to alleviate the suffering of all commuters.
Ensure that all motorists, in particular the public transport buses and three-wheelers, observe lane discipline.
The proposed plan is a strategy in revenue management where optimal use of the asset is achieved. Traffic Police can distribute leaflets to all motorists prior to implementation of a scheme of this nature explaining this action which is being taken in the interest of all concerned and not through any narrow parochial interests. Also improvement of traffic flow means less stress to our citizens at the tail-end of the day and less pollution of the outer atmosphere.
(The writer can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.)