Tollgates on NH-66 in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi turn accident-prone zones


Team Udayavani, Jan 2, 2024, 11:12 AM IST

Mangaluru: Toll plazas along National Highway-66 passing through Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are fast becoming accident spots, posing challenges to safe and smooth commuting. Locals and commuters cite several reasons for the same.

Haphazard truck parking:

One of the chief complaints is about the haphazard parking of heavy vehicles, including trucks, lorries, and tempos, on both sides of the tollgates round the clock. This reckless parking practice often leads to vehicles blocking lanes, causing loss of control for approaching vehicles, resulting in collisions with parked vehicles, tollgates, and even pedestrians, they said.

Moreover, the trucks parked for an extended time at toll gates at Talapady on the state border, and Hejamadi tollgate on the DK-Udupi district border. Some trucks don’t move for weeks, motorists complain.

The unsafe conditions are aggravated by inadequate lighting, they add.

Wrong side driving:

Another significant concern arises from vehicles moving in the wrong direction towards local link roads adjacent to Talapady and Hejamady tollgates. When trucks, buses, minibusses, and tempos are parked at Talapady tollgate, create a blind spot, and motorists often fail to notice the traffic moving in the wrong direction or taking a turn, locals said.

 The narrow highway at Brahmarakotlu tollgate in Bantwal, creates many hazards. There are parking issues at the toll gate, often creating traffic snarls.

Similarly, near Sasthan Toll Gate in Udupi, fatal accidents occurred due to lorries parked across lanes, highlighting the pressing need for effective solutions.

Traffic inspections:

Inspections at inter-district and inter-state borders by police and customs departments further complicate traffic flow. With congestion from vehicle inspections at already crowded tollgates, motorists suggested that such inspections should take place slightly away from the toll gates or on the side to alleviate congestion.

Meanwhile, truck drivers attribute the problem to insufficient truck bays in these locations.

Accidents at Tollgates:

The tollgate incidents over recent years reflect the severity of the situation, with numerous accidents leading to fatalities, highlighting the urgency for proactive measures:

  • February 2022:  Two bike collided near Talapady Gate, killing one person.
  • 2020: A lorry driver crossing the road was fatally hit by a bus near Talapady Gate.
  • March 2022: Two scooter riders were killed in a tanker collision near Hejamadi Gate.
  • April 2022: A lorry was gutted at the Hejamadi gate when a fire lit for cooking in the parked vehicle spread.
  • April 2022: A scooter collided with the Bullet Tanker parked at Hejmadi Gate, killing the rider.
  • July 2022: An ambulance crashed into Shiruru tollgate, killing three people.

Responding to the concerns, Udupi Superintendent of Police Dr. K. Arun,  said that the Highway Police Patrol have been instructed to take appropriate action if any vehicle is illegally parked at the toll gates. “Legal action will be taken against such drivers,” he added.

DCP Crime and Traffic Mangaluru Dinesh Kumar B P, said that there are petty shops near the tollgate which operate 24 hours a day serving tea, coffee and snacks to lang-haul vehicles. “We have noted this problem and have instructed the toll plaza to take action in this regard. Police are also frequently at the scene warning motorists,” he said.

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