Use warning signs around construction sites - RDA :
More mishaps on Marine Drive
Vehicles miss the construction site by inches Pix: Kavindra
Jaywalkers run the risk of being run over
parked indiscriminately on the road hampering traffic as a
As crowds from all parts of the country poured in to experience the
colourful Vesak decorations in Colombo, the Marine Drive in Kollupitiya
around Schofield Place turned chaotic every now and then due to many
motor vehicle accidents. The reason, the residents claim, is the
stagnated construction work around the area. Three huge holes have been
dug and the soil has been piled adjacent to them, occupying a side of
motor space on the main road.
The work has come to a standstill and I am not surprised, says a
resident. "Every time they start up something we see a large number of
contractors at work, after about two or three days, they disappear and
expect us to get on with our daily lives without feeling the
inconvenience their neglected work causes us.
The road has been under construction for an eternity now.
It is very frustrating to be constantly bothered by these glitches.
The road does even have white lines that demarcate either side, clearly
this leaves room for many accidents, this new hole has been the most
dangerous threat so far.
Our neighbourhood has been like the accident ward in the past few
days. We heard screams of people trying to escape from their damaged
vehicles and they were in a state of shock.
One of the boys was on a bike delivering pizzas when he was hit by a
I wonder who will pay his bills? The Police attended to some of them
but most of them were taken to the hospital in one of the three wheelers
parked here and I am sure the Police is not even aware of those
incidents. Besides, most of those affected had come to Colombo to
celebrate Vesak and they had the accidents either on their way to see
the decorations or on their return and I am sure it spoiled all their
plans and they returned home with displeasure", she said
I experienced over four major accidents where passengers were
injured, said Harsha Kumara, a three-wheel driver parked in the area.
"At night, a naked eye cannot see the pile of soil here until they are
just about a metre away from it. The road does not have street lights
and that increases the possibility of accidents. By the time the
motorists try to steer away from the pile, it is too late. About five
days back a car landed on the pile with both its left tyres above the
ground. Even during broad day- light, the mirage makes the vision
unclear and the glare makes it difficult to spot obstructions on the
motorway especially as the temperatures are soaring these days, so the
issue is not only restricted to the lack of lighting here, the solution
is to complete these road works and let the roads be. People do not even
have a pavement to walk on anymore", he said.
A well maintained pavement lies on the right hand side of the road
but is often unused by pedestrians who misconstrue it to be a jogging
Our camera caught some jaywalkers coming into close contact with some
of the plying vehicles and some vehicles which were parked on the main
road unlawfully increasing the potential for accidents.
We contacted the Officer in Charge of Traffic of the Kollupitiya
Police Station Indunil Ranaweera who said he was aware of the accidents
and that his officers have been available for assistance whenever they
were alerted of the accidents.
Q: How many accidents have you recorded and what do you think
is causing them?
A: About four in the past few days where people were injured.
Our officers became aware of it while on patrol during the Vesak
season and anyone in need of medical attention was directed to hospitals
I think the Vesak traffic congestion caused some of them and some
were caused due to reckless driving because the motorists over speed on
this road and that causes a lot of accidents.
Q: The residents claim the construction work has increased the
number of accidents, it is understood that you cannot stop the
construction, but what safety measures have you devised?
A: It may have, the Marine Drive has to undergo all this
construction work and the police do not deal with the safety aspect of
motorists due to these constructions. It is done by the contractors.
They are entrusted with the responsibility of forewarning motorists
and pedestrians of the construction work and the potential hazards.
They must use colour coded safety boards and signs which is both
clear and indicative to all who use those routes as part of their daily
Q: Have you made attempts to inform the relevant authorities
of these requirements?
A: Yes, I have, but I must say it does not come under my
purview. I did it because I felt the need to.
I have written to the Road Development Authority to make arrangements
for warning boards around all road construction work which take place in
the area and to inform their contractors of the same.
Apart from the area around Hotel Sunhill, the turn at the Station
Road in Kollupitiya where the road connects to the Galle Road from
Marine Drive did not have a warning sign of a bend either, we arranged
to put up arrows to indicate the turn.
Further, the Liberty Plaza junction has frequent accidents too.
Under the guidance of Western Province Traffic DIG Asoka Wijetilleka,
we have now pushed the main bus stop back by about 75m towards Abdul
Gafoor Mawatha and this has reduced the number of accidents.
People's road safety is top priority and we will work towards
achieving it to the best of our ability and power but where we are
unable to do so, we will discuss with the relevant authorities to
Apart from the numbers recorded, another officer claimed that nearly
20 incidents were reported between the period May 16-20. "All injured
personnel have either been discharged from the hospital or is in stable
condition receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Colombo and the
Kalubowila Hospital", he said.
We also contacted the Engineers Representative of the Marine Drive
Development Stage 3 project of the Road Development Ravi Shankar who
gave an insight as to why the road has not been demarcated yet.
He admits being aware of some incidents around the area being
discussed. "Sewerage construction is taking place in the area and work
is due to be completed very soon.
The road is far from complete, it was constructed within a very short
time so any oversights are being re-looked at now.
All this construction work is taking place to ensure that the people
in the area don't face long-term inconveniences.
Once all the work is completed we will re-lay the carpets on the road
and then demarcate the sides, until then I request motorists to be
cautious and control their speed when driving.
The coastal stretch from Glen Aber Place to the Kollupitiya Station
Road will be part of the development project.
We have closed certain parts of the road in the past but they have
The road is constantly used during the day so the work gets delayed",
However, he assured to put up warning signs 25 metres before the
construction site on either side with the view of minimising the