KATHMANDU: The locals residing along the inner roads of the capital city have come up with new ideas of controlling reckless driving in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks.
Local folks have placed boulders, empty barrel drums, flower pots, jute sacks filled with sand, bricks and tyres in a zigzag manner on the single-lane roads. Sticks with polythene and pieces of red cloth on top have been erected as warning signs for reckless drivers.
Ashok Sharma, 36, Khadka Gaun, of Nagarjun Municipality said, “These objects work as speed breakers for drivers. Such objects urge the drivers to slow down in the narrow roads.”
Several houses in the inner roads have collapsed or are seriously damaged due to the quake. Locals fear that the vibrations triggered by reckless driving and overspeeding of tippers and cars could cause further damage to their precarious structures.
“The vibrations can result in further damage to the seriously cracked buildings or even cause them to collapse,” said Sharma, adding that the drivers had started driving slowly since the warnings were placed.
Heavy tippers ply the inner roads of Khadka Gaun via Kalanki to reach Nagdhunga and Dhading at night. The locals have been spending sleepless nights due to the post-earthquake trauma and vibrations caused to the shaky buildings.
Narendra Thapa, 43, of the locality said, “The vibration of noisy and speeding tippers is often mistaken for aftershocks. We rush to open spaces and roads for safety only to discover that the vibration had been caused by the tippers.”
The inner roads of Chandragiri Municipality have been further narrowed by the warning materials placed in the street. The warnings have also been kept at Satungal-Gurjudhara road. Reflective stickers have been pasted on drums with cement blocks and flower pots bearing the warning message ‘Drive Slow’.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division had declared some road sections in Kathmandu Valley no-go zones to prevent any untoward incident, keeping in mind the vulnerability of roadside houses and buildings.
Vehicular movement has been halted on the road leading to
Hiraratna Cinema Hall from Kalopul Chowk.
Similarly, Naxal Bhagwatibahal-Nagpokhari-Hattisar, Balaju bypass, Gongabu Chowk-Baniyatar, Mitranagar-Mhepi, Thamel-JP Mode, Soaltee Mode-Kalimati-Kalanki Chowk, Lagan-Teku-Paropakar, Tamsipakha-Bangemudha, and Dallu-Bhagwanpau road sections have been declared no-go zones in Kathmandu.
Although vehicles have been diverted to alternative routes from the prohibited road sections to manage traffic flow, the inner roads with vulnerable and precarious buildings have not been declared vehicle-prohibited zones so far.
Jamuna Shrestha, 29, of Jaisedewal said, “My four-storey building vibrates with the movement of cars and tippers. The vibration sends chills down my spine. Only god knows how fearful I have been due to the reckless drivers and noisy vehicles.”