Breach of lane rule nullifies Naya Baneshwor’s upgraded intersection


Kathmandu, Jan. 7: Naya Baneshwor is one of the major intersections in the Kathmandu Valley which has recently received a facelift to introduce an urban transport management system. 

The changes were made as a part of a pilot project for intersection improvement in the Kathmandu Valley under the coordination of the Government of Nepal and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Of the facelift, the major change includes the construction of a divider in the Naya Baneshwor Chowk for vehicles plying the main lanes of the eight-lane Maitighar-Tinkune Highway. 

The divider, around 200 metres in length, has been erected on two sides of the intersection by covering an extra lane dedicated to the opposite traffic on the main lane. 

According to the concerned stakeholders, a lane for the opposite traffic was encroached to extend space for vehicles in need of a right turn.

The Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office informed that it was a good step to minimise traffic congestion at the Naya Baneshwor Chowk, but it would prove beneficial only when the commuters followed lane discipline. 

Traffic police officers deployed at the Naya Baneshwor Chowk informed that lack of lane discipline had prevented vehicles from heading right in their turns due to the divider. 

Earlier, when there were no dividers, vehicles waiting to either turn towards Purano Baneshwor (a right turn while heading west) or Sankhamul (a right turn while heading east) on the main lanes would cover the lanes for opposite traffic on the right when their turns came. 

“I remember not getting space on the lane dedicated for vehicles taking a right turn in Naya Baneshwor in June 2023. When the light turned green for a right turn, I would follow other vehicles as they head forward covering the remaining two lanes for the opposite traffic,” said Kamal Raj Karki, a businessman from Morang district who was stuck on the right lane as he was headed towards Sankhamul on Thursday evening.

However, the convenience has now ended because of the divider.

While authorities say that an extra lane has been encroached to create space for right-turning vehicles, the lane is often occupied by vehicles heading straight during peak hours.

“This time, the divider prevented any vehicle from occupying the opposite lane, and vehicles heading straight restricted us from using the lane dedicated for right-turners. The intersection was only 150 metres away, but I was able to take a right turn only after the traffic light for a right turn turned green for the third time,” Karki stressed.

While a concrete divider has been erected on the main lanes, orange-coloured metal rods have been installed before the intersection from the Purano Baneshwor side. 

A wider white-coloured marking has been made for vehicles heading towards the Naya Baneshwor Chowk from the Sankhamul side to restrict them from encroaching the lane for opposite traffic.

“Be it a divider, metal rod or only coloured marking, they are all a means to prevent traffic congestion and collisions with vehicles heading from the opposite direction. If everyone remained in their lanes, it would prevent traffic jams and accidents,” said a traffic police officer as he monitored vehicles at the Naya Baneshwor Chowk.

Similarly, when the officers were asked whether the violators of lane discipline in the intersection were penalised, they argued that it would only backfire as always. “If we started penalising every vehicle that violated lane rule in the Naya Baneshwor intersection, we would run out of tickets in a day,” another officer said.

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