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Move to ease traffic congestion in Indepedence Square:

Uniflow traffic plan for Colombo City



Pic: by Thilak Perera

The smooth flow of traffic in the Colombo city, the commercial capital of the country is a must considering the number of vehicles entering the city on a daily basis. To make this a reality, from time to time, the Police Traffic Division along with the other relevant agencies have come up with innovative traffic plans in different parts of the city.

All these traffic plans have been introduced to support the uniflow traffic system now being implemented in many parts of the city. The general observation of the public about this traffic arrangement is quite satisfactory though there were many complaints on the new traffic plans soon after its introduction.


Senior DIG Asoka Wijetilleka

SI Indika

The uniflow traffic plan implemented from Kollupitiya to Bambalapitiya is also now operating smoothly though there were complaints from the public at the initial stages as many motorists have now adopted it. The new traffic system introduced from October 1, in Independence Square in the Cinamon Garden Police area is also now operating to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the area, thus reducing traffic congestion and removing black spots where a number of accidents were reported.

According to Senior DIG Asoka Wijetilleka in charge of Traffic and Police Field Force Headquarters, the change was made purely to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic in the area in a more orderly manner. Sub Inspector Indika Kumara, Traffic OIC of Cinnamon Garden Police station said the new traffic arrangement in the Independence Square area has been made after reversing the uniflow traffic plan which was earlier in operation in the area.

According to the earlier plan, motorists coming in from Bauddhaloka Mawatha had to reach the Independence square roundabout after turning towards Independence Square at the RFP junction just after the BMICH and proceed through the Public Administration roundabout and Independences avenue. The reversed traffic plan allows vehicles from Nanda Motors to proceed along Independence Avenue through the Independence roundabout to proceed towards the Public Administration Ministry roundabout and enter Bauddaloka Mawatha after turning right at Maitland Place. Motorists can also reach Horton Place after turning left at Maitland Place and turning right at the Maitland Crescent - Maitland Place junction.

Motorists proceeding along Independence Avenue can also proceed towards Wijerama Mawatha along Vidya Mawatha after crossing Maitland Place just after the Public Administration roundabout. “Motorists coming along Bauddaloka Mawatha cannot directly enter Independence Avenue from the RFP junction through the Public administration roundabout as it's a one-way route. But they can turn right and proceed along Vidya Mawatha to reach Wijerama Mawatha,” SI Indika said. Motorists proceeding along Maitland Place can turn either left or right at the Maitland Place-Maitland Crescent junction.

“Those who want to proceed towards Horton Place can reach there after turning right at the Maitland Place-Maitland Crescent junction. Those who are turning left can reach Reid Avenue which has been renamed Philip Gunawardena Mawatha and also Independence Avenue at the Independence roundabout,” he added.

“They also can enter Guildford Crescent which has been renamed- Premasiri Khemadasa Mawatha from the Independence roundabout and proceed towards or towards the Public Library area via Glass House junction,” he added .

“Motorists proceeding towards Guildford Crescent from Maitland Crescent should be careful to enter to Reid Avenue or Philip Gunawardena Mawatha on their right when passing the Independence roundabout as they have to cross Reid Avenue to enter Guildford Crescent if they pass Independence Roundabout from the left side of the roundabout,” he added.

This has been a gray area where the tendency for accidents were very high as buses coming from Nanda Motors and Independence Avenue enter Reid Avenue at the Independence roundabout.

“According to the previous traffic plan motorist coming from Independence Avenue had to cross Reid Avenue to enter Guildford Crescent. We have avoided that situation with the introduction of the new traffic plan as no vehicles from Independence Avenue enter Reid Avenue under the new traffic plan,” he added.

But motorists coming from the Independence Square area through Maitland Place and Maitland Crescent with the intention of entering Guildford Crescent through the Independence Avenue tend to enter their vehicles to Reid Avenue from the left side of the Independence roundabout to proceed towards Guildford Crescent as they are not aware of the new traffic plan. “To avoid this situation we have deployed traffic Police officers till 11 p.m. to guide motorists in the right direction and also requested from the Colombo Municipal Council to have stop lines to enforce the right-of-way law at the Independence Roundabout”, SI Indika said. Motorist coming from Gregory's Road cannot turn left at the Gregory's road Maitland Crescent junction as the section of the Maitland Crescent from Gregory's Road Maitland Crescent junction to Maitland Place-Maitland Crescent junction has been made only for one way traffic.

According to SI Indika during rush hour, motorists who are coming along Maitland Place with the intention of reaching the Public Library area can easily proceed there after turning right at the Maitland Place-Maitland Crescent junction towards Independence Roundabout and reach the Public Library roundabout via Guildford Crescent and Glass House instead of proceeding towards Horton Place to reach that end as the number of motorists on the Horton Place is very high.

“For motorists using Maitland Place it is better to avoid entering Horton Place as a large number of vehicles from Welikada, Rajagiriya and Battaramulla direction proceed along Horton Place. They also can avoid any traffic lights if they select the Independence roundabout, Guildford Crescent or Premasiri Kemadasa Mawatha and Glass House direction”, he added.

The only place they have to be careful is at the Independence roundabout when proceeding towards Guildford Crescent as they have to take the vehicle from the right side of the Independence roundabout when they proceed towards Guildford Crescent. “It is better for motorists coming from Kanatta junction and Bauddaloka Mawatha to avoid using Wijerama Mawatha to proceed towards the Public Library area. It is better to enter Maitland Place from the RFP junction and proceed via Maitland Place, Maitland Crescent, Independence Roundabout, Guilford Crescent and Glass House junction. By doing so they can the avoid traffic lights on their way to Public Library area”, he added.

Senior DIG Asoka Wijetilleka said the new traffic plan makes things easy for motorists and the traffic flow is put in a systematic manner and made as practicable and possible within the existing road network. We are going ahead with the present traffic arrangement as we have not observed much of a problematic situation with the new traffic arrangement,” he added.

“The only thing the motorist must adhere is decent driving. If they follow the lane traffic if they give right of way problems will not be there. It is the violations that has made traffic jams not only in the intersections but all over. If motorists also take cognizance of the manner that they should observe the rule of law without all the time pointing fingers at the Police, I think things will go in order,” he ad. “I believe when the motorists get used to this system they will be more comfortable and the traffic flow will be smoother than before”, he remarked.


Seat Belt Law


Senior DIG Asoka Wijetilleka incharge of the Traffic and Police Field Force Headquarters says the law regarding to the wearing of seat belts will be strictly enforced as it will minimise fatalities and the injuries to motorists and road users.

He said the law has been enforced by way of regulation number 3 of 2011, promulgated by the Minister of Transport through an extraordinary gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka published on August 9, 2011.

“These regulations as per the gazette shall apply to all motor vehicles as specified in the Motor Traffic Act . Accordingly the vehicle registered and which are designed distinctive number either comprising with the Provincial Letters with the letters DP followed by two letters of the English alphabet and for numerals as set out or two Provincial Letters or the letter DP followed by three letters of the English alphabet and four numerals as set out thereof subjected to this law”, he added.

According to Senior DIG Wijetilleka there are two categories under which they will be applicable for the moment. With the promulgation of this regulation as from October 1, this year it will apply in respect light motor vehicles, motor lorries, heavy motor lorries and light motor coaches motor coaches and heavy motor coaches which are registered from October 11 in respect of this category of vehicles and which have been assigned a distinctive number as specified in the two provisions which were mentioned earlier.

“No person shall, after these regulations coming into operation, sell or offer for sale or save in his possession for sale any vehicle which is fitted with a body restraining a seat belt which is not of the type specified in the regulation five of this special extraordinary gazette notification”, he added.

Regulation five specifies the type of the body restraining seat belt requirement to be fitted to every motor vehicle to which these regulations apply. It will consist of three or more than three point mounting lap belt and diagonal belt or belts that is overlapping your body. It should be worn in such a manner as you provide restrain for both the upper and the lower part of the trunk of the persons travelling either in the drivers seat or the front passenger seat of a motor vehicle of the category mention in the two categories earlier.

“Which means it is mandatory for both the driver plus the other occupant in the front seat to wear seat belts,” he added.

There are a few exemptions and they are granted to a person if he or she has a disability of permanent nature. But that person shall obtain an exemption from a medical board in a manner provided under the same regulations and the medical certificate specifies will not be issue for a period more than of six months. “Any person who contravene any of the provisions of these special regulation shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction will be liable to a penalty specified in the section 2:2:4 of the Motor Traffic Ordinance. That is there is no spot fines for this and it has to be referred to courts,” he added.

“We request the motorists that they should adhere to these regulations and comply with them. These are not regulations promulgated to harass motorists but for the safety of the motorists, because there had been very many accidents if the seat belts are worn they would have save their lives with limited injuries depending on the nature of the accident. Here again this is one serious factor that has caused fatal accidents in very many instances if not they would have saved their lives,” he added. This is actually a safety measure and a precaution specially for the driver and the occupant of the other front seat. Because for any jerk or any type of a impact they are the first to get the full force of the impact. “This is the reason why this has been enacted which I think is very timely and which would have been promulgated a long time ago. Now this has been promulgated what is important for motorists is to adhere to this law,” he added.

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