ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 29

SC tells KMC to get cracking on easing Kandy traffic

By L.B.Senaratne

The Supreme Court has directed the Kandy Municipal Council to implement by May 7, 2008 the recommendations in the report prepared by the Civil Engineering Department of the Peradeniya Universtiy to ease traffic congestion and improve safety of pedestrians on the Peradeniya-Kandy Road.

This follows a petition submitted to Court by a retired school principal Ranjth Wijesinghe seeking its intervention under a fundamental rights application to safeguard the rights of road users, who it was claimed might be adversely affected by a one -way traffic system proposed to be implemented on William Gopallawa Mawatha and Sirimavo Bandranaike Mawatha (Peradeniya Road) from Getambe roundabout.

The respondents to this petition, were the Kandy Municipal Council, Mayor L.B.Aluvihare, DIG Nimal Mediwake, Kandy Muncipal Council Members, Council Secretary Ms.M.P.S.Ariyasena and the Attorney General. On an earlier date the Supreme Court, ordered the Vice Chancellor of the Peradeniya,University to carry out the necessary studies and make recommendations to Court as to the possible courses of action that would facilitate the movement of traffic and ensure adequate safety for persons who use the road.

Subsequent to this order a team from the academic staff of the Civil Engineering Department of Peradeniya University was given the task of preparing this report. The team was led by Dr.A.P.N.Somaratna, Civil Engineering Department head and consisted of Drs.A.G.H.J Edirisinghe, G.S.Gurusinghe, I.M.S.Sathyaprasad and S.B.Weerakoon.

The report observed that the general congestion on the roads in the city centre has had a significant effect on the upstream traffic in the approach roads. Smooth traffic circulation in the city centre is vital in minimising congestion on the approach roads.

“Not only will that ease the congestion but it will also improve safety through orderly movements,” the report said. In 2001 the Kandy Municipal Council commissioned a detailed study on city centre traffic management as part of the feasibility study for a multi-storey car park. The study resulted in a proposal for a car park and a traffic plan for the city centre.

“The car park was built with funds obtained through a loan from the ADB, though the recommendations regarding the operation of the car park contained in the project report have not been fully implemented. As a result the car park is under-utilized and it has had very little impact on improving the traffic condition in the city centre.

The failure to fully implement the project proposals have made the car park a white elephant. We feel that the blunder should be rectified by fully implementing the recommendations contained in the project proposals, the report said.“Another issue that needs to be addressed is the location of bus stands in the city. A large number of buses running on short distance routes are parked in the bus stands near the clock tower and the goods shed. It would be much better if these short distance bus routes are planned to have both the origin and the destination outside the city limits.

“Then the buses on those routes will merely pass through the city centre without using up parking spaces in the bus stand (for example, instead of having two separate routes from Kandy to Penideniya and Katugatota, passing through the city centre. This will eliminate the need for bus stands within the city centre for Penideniya and for Katugastota buses. This not a novel idea but it was practised successfully many years ago,” the report said.

The report also points out that although William Gopallawa Mawatha is the most important access road to Kandy from Colombo there is indiscriminate roadside parking. It says that it is necessary to stop this practice as an immeidiate solution to the congestion of William Gopallwa Mawatha.

In a long term proposal, the report states " It is proposed that Willima Gopallawa Mawatha should be widened to a four lane highway with two travel lanes per direction. This will then be a continuation of the Peradeniya -Gannoruwa -Getambe 4 lane highway currently under construction. Bus stops and limited parking should be located at appropriate distances. There is room to improve this road to a four lane highway as it has a road reservation of 30 metres.”

In this case Attorney at -Law Vasantha Wijewardene with Lasanthi Wijewardene appeared for the Petitioner while L.C.Seneviratne PC with Ms.M.Athathuly , Attorney at Law V. Choksy and Attorney Lionel Ekanayake appeared for the Respondents.

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