Safety first, with speed bumps for drivers and zebra crossings for pedestrians

Kuensel – 1 July 2014 Expressway: The Thimphu-Babesa expressway will no longer be called by that name.

It will be a part of the city’s urban road network and not a highway anymore.

With the wire mesh along the expressway removed, road safety and transport authority (RSTA) officials said pedestrians could cross the expressway but through the markings.

RSTA have also issued a notification in this regard.  However, the markings are yet to be done.

RSTA’s director general said the thromde would start marking the locations for zebra crossing, and come up with speed breakers along the 6.2km expressway.

“The traffic police will guide pedestrians and monitor it,” he said. “RSTA’s responsibility is to create awareness and monitor.”

Thimphu thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said the cabinet accepted the proposal last week, and they will implement the decision soon.

The thrompon said RSTA should have consulted thromde before giving the notification in the media.

“The marking of zebra crossings and speed breakers should have been done first before notifying people,” he said.

“Now, we have to try to finish the work within two to three weeks,” the thrompon said. “We have to do it ourselves or award it to a contractor, who is already working with us, as it will take a month to float tenders.”

Thromde officials said speed breakers and zebra crossings along the highway would be spread out over about 10 locations.  The speed breakers will be raised by four inches and signboards put in place.

The expenditure is estimated to be around 2M.

The welded mesh along the expressway road divider that did not do any good to prevent pedestrians from crossing the road was removed last month before the Indian prime minister’s visit.

Without the wire mesh now, pedestrians have been crossing freely causing inconvenience to drivers, especially at night.

A civil servant, Kuenzang Dorji, who lives in Semtokha, said he has to be extra attentive along the expressway with the wire mesh gone now.

“Before, when the welded mesh was in place, there were at least some points from where people crossed and we knew where to slow down,” he said. “But now, people cross from all over the place and it’s difficult, especially during the night and when it rains.”

Some residents said that, although it was called a highway, it was done so, without considering any provisions of a highway.

“Problems were bound to occur,” a resident said.

“Something needs to be done along that stretch of road before the summer break for students end because it’s mostly students who walk along that road,” a corporate employee, Tshering Yangden, said.

Meanwhile, Thimphu thromde, traffic police and RSTA officials will go for a site visit today to decide where zebra crossings and speed breakers will come up along the expressway.

By Sonam Choden

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