Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Southern Highway – would you dare?

Now that the opening up of southern highway is just around the corner, a few of us at work have been contemplating when it would be “safe” to get on it. The estimates varied. Here is a summary.

At least after the first 6 months : Reason being that the moment it opens up, there will be a flood of morons who would try to taste what it would be like to legally drive at 100kmph – assuming that it would be very different to doing the same illegally as they have done since getting behind a vehicle for the first time. The only silver lining here is that it will probably eliminate some of these brain-cell-challenged-maniacs – probably a few offspring of some ministers together with their expensive duty-free rides. I just hope they won’t take a few innocent folks with them when they go.

In the first 6 months and then from 18 months onwards : Essentially stay away from the road 12 months after the first 6 months. The argument here is that during the first 6 months, sanity will prevail and people will hopefully take it slow – what this being a new thing and all. After that they will slowly gain confidence and try to push the limits. “If 100kmph is legal, what’s the fun in driving at that?”. This will last for about 12 months until authorities wake up and start putting cops behind trees with speed guns, sniper guns and bribe collecting tins.

Never, infact take the Galle road : Two reasons for this. First is that our drivers don’t use their indicate lights for a toss and the break-lights don’t work on most vehicles that were made two years or earlier – and as my friend rightfully pointed out, at 100kmph both those mistakes can often be fatal. The second reason being that most morons out there would have started using the new highway. Galle road will become relatively moron-free.

Personally, I will adopt a wait-and-see policy on this.


Kokila said...

'wait and see' I'd say.

indi said...

It's a low bar, but it's hard to be worse than the Galle Road. People do drive 100k, just on a two lane road with kids and drunks stumbling about

Anonymous said...

I too have the same views. I have decided not to use this road for at least for the first 6 months until people get used to the speeds and probably as Bimal said the morons are eliminated.

Our drives need to learn on how to use the lanes. Generally here the slow drivers use the middle lane and people who need to go faster have to use the inner lane and zig zag amoung the other vehicles. If that is the case with the High way too at 100 kmph, it would be awful.

I'm at Pannipitiya. So for me to access to the highway is ok, but for the others they need to spend atleast 1 and half hours to get to Kottawa in heavy traffic in Highlevel Road and 174 road. So they would rather stick to the Galle Road.

- Dilan R

Jack Point said...

My plan was to avoid it for the first six months and see how things go.

Un-roadworthy vehicles and incompetent drivers will be the main dangers. Traffic jams may be a problem at the entry or exit, depending on how the tickets are to be issued.

Chan said...

May be, may be not!

1. We already drive too fast in just two lanes among with trishaw and mo-bike zig zags. last time I checked I have hit average 55 kpm Tangalle - Colombo in traditional Galle road with my kid in the car.

2. It would not be too risky to push 80kpm on average, unless so called cops emerge behind to make sure you actually push the peddle to the metal, that is may be when "sane" returns to the road as you say in six months.

3. On assumption new road is "designed" with more road dynamics than our average road, good carpet, corner elevation, defense fences, good visibility etc.

4. We will not see trishaws, bikes or land-masters appearing from no where or your left when we hit the peddle, or the pesky "bus" drivers ( are they allowed?)

5. Our habits die hard, no six month at least 2 year will go by when we make full use of the road.

6. I anyway already worry as anyms said that Highlevel form Nugegoda to Kottawa will be a bottle-neck

7. Traditional Galle road will still be maintained.

So traffic will be divided, take either way, less risky. I only see my drive becomes little safer and may gain 30-60 min saving on time or hit 70Kpm on average

Sujeewa Kokawala said...

Until the first accident occurs and I will be able to understand the kinda dynamics and catastrophe levels. BTW that won't take long.

Bimal said...

I guess most people are skeptical about the whole highway thingy - with good reason I might add. Also I heard that the openning is delayed till end of the year and even possibly till Jan or Feb 2012. Add another 6 months to "wait and see" and it's already closing up on the end of the world - so what's the point?

Anonymous said...

Highway is opened and things seems pretty ok. Yeasterday (27) alone there had been thousands vehicles speeding 140 Kmph and beyond so far only one accident is there. My friend had hit 170Kmph odd that video evidance also there with his old car, so if you gotta good car you can easily hit 200 Kmph without a hiccup.


It's less than average than the traditional Galle Road which I see at least an accident in every time i visited Galle.

Things seem pretty ok with road dynamics and things also, but there were morons who were going in 80Kmph and blocking the lanes sometimes.. that has to me taken care of...


Bimal said...

Chan, I think going at 80kmph (especially until people get the hang of it) is far better than speeding at 140kmph or nore on a road that is designed for a max of 100kmph.

Sanjay Fernando said...

I'm with you Bimal. I wouldn't speed on it either, until i get a feel for the road. Sort of like when marine drive was extended.

I now feel, waiting 6 months seems like the best option.

Bimal said...

Drivers seem to be behaving much better than initially anticipated. I took the plunge in December and I was surprised to see the majority of them sticking to the left lane for starters. There were some roadkill and ever present danger in stray dogs colliding with your vehicle but I suppose thoser will ease off in time.

All in all, I think it looks pretty good and a job well done. Only real glitch is that the lane width is a bit too narrow for a highway. I hope the subsequent ones will be wider allowing safer overtaking.