Coimbatore: Crossing the traffic signal near the Government College of Technology on Thadagam main road in the city is an arduous task for motorists and pedestrians alike.
Chaos reigns as vehicles from every other direction vie with each other to cross the intersection simultaneously, with scant regard for rules and safety. The traffic signal that has stopped functioning long ago stands tall as a mute witness to the chaotic traffic as well as official apathy.
While some of them wait patiently, when the red light is on, others just jump the signal in a rush and hit other vehicles, he said. “However, no major accidents have taken place.”
Similar is the case with at least half of the traffic signals in the city. A total of 22 traffic signals have not been functioning due to technical issues for several months now.
Earlier, traffic signals were maintained by advertisers, who were allowed to install advertisement boards on traffic signal poles. They paid the electricity bills and fixed the faulty signals. But following the directions of Madras high court, owners of the road – city corporation, state highways and national highways – had removed the advertisements. Now, the payment of electricity bills has also been hit.
The traffic police are left to mend the faulty traffic signals, but they don’t have funds for the same. As such, the signals remain defunct. “Repairing the defunct signals is costlier than we expected. It will take about Rs 1.5 lakh just to fix one and the police department does not have provisions to repair or maintain signals,” said a police officer, who didn’t want to be named.
While some signals need replacement of worn out parts, bulbs and other electronic items, in certain cases the pole itself has become corrosive and requires replacement.
Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) R Mutharasu expressed hope that the signals would start functioning soon. He said the city corporation had agreed to maintain the signals, while Tangedco had come forward to deduct the electricity bill from caution deposits that were paid by the advertisers.
The police department had on November 3 submitted a proposal to the transport department to install new traffic signals at cost of Rs 4 crore. The new ones will have single source LED bulbs, which consume less power and have long durability, a source said. “Overhead cables would also go under the ground.”
Meanwhile, to mitigate the current situation, cops (law and order) have been deployed in congested areas during peak hours to man traffic along with the traffic police, the source said.