KMC starts replacing old traffic lights
By C K Khanal
Kathmandu, December 1: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has started replacing the old traffic lights installed at the city’s major intersections with new ones.
After the Department of Roads (DoR) failed to make the existing traffic lights functional, the KMC has taken the initiative to fix new traffic lights in coordination with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) and the DoR.
Executive officer of KMC Dhani Ram Sharma said that the KMC was installing traffic lights at two major intersections -- Chakrapath and New Baneshwore -- on a trial basis by using local technology developed by a group of young Nepali engineers.
Developers of the proposed technology claim that their technology is fully automated, and the traffic signals can be handled directly from the master control room of the traffic police with it.
The existing traffic lights are based on old technology, and they cannot be handled from the master control room.
“If the trial of the local technology proves effective, the KMC will replace all traffic signals using the new technology, and new traffic lights will also be installed at new locations,” he said.
According to reliable sources, attempts made by the DoR to replace the old traffic lights using the new technology-based lights had failed twice in the past due to overbidding by the contractors.
As a result, the traffic lights at 16 major intersections of the metropolis have remained non-functional for the last several years.
According to the MTPD, traffic lights had been installed at 36 different sites of the Kathmandu Valley.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management recently directed the DoR to make necessary arrangements for the maintenance and installment of the traffic lights in coordination with the KMC and the MTPD.
Umesh Ranjitkar, spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police at the MTPD, said that it was not possible to manage Kathmandu’s traffic only by repairing the existing traffic lights as they were based on old technology.
As the number of vehicles has increased significantly over the years, the existing manual technology-based traffic lights cannot handle the traffic movements in Kathmandu, he said.
“We need advanced technology-based traffic signals which can be handled from the master control room. The technology should have cameras installed in it to enable the traffic police to synchronise the traffic information to properly handle the traffic in all locations,” he said.
Ranjitkar said that due to lack of traffic lights, the MTPD was forced to deploy a large number of its human resource to handle traffic in the Kathmandu Valley in a traditional way.
He said that Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City had also reached the final stage of installing new traffic lights at major intersections of the city.