Road traffic in the country, especially in the capital, is growing at a high pace. This has highlighted the need not only for traffic rules and their implementation but also for road infrastructures to ensure safety. One such infrastructure is the roundabout which not only controls the flow of traffic but also reduces accident risks.
The junction located at Chang Gedaphu in Thimphu connects the Menkhang Lam, Zeri Lam, Gida Lam and the road that leads to the Kuenselphodrang. But without a roundabout, regular commuters say the place becomes chaotic, especially during traffic rush hour.
“In the mornings, there are a lot of traffic jams and it is difficult to get to school on time. And when we go home, there are lots of tourist cars going to Buddha point resulting in jams again. There isn’t any zebra crossing or roundabouts here, but we really need it,” said Karma Choekyid Woezer, a student.
“Every morning we have a lot of traffic. Although we do have traffic police, sometimes when they are late, it becomes chaotic here. So to avoid that, if there could be a roundabout, with traffic police, I think it would really help,” said another regular commuter, M.B Mongar.
“When I go to drop off my child, drivers do not follow correct driving protocols in terms of road safety. I think it is risky and I feel that if there’s a roundabout, it would be more convenient for us,” said Tsoda.
Some drivers said it becomes confusing when there are cars coming in from different sides.
As per records with the Traffic Police, there have been 8 motor vehicle accidents at this junction so far this year. Last year, there were three accidents.
Similarly, the junction at Olakha connecting three different roads is confusing according to drivers.
“It is inconvenient mostly during the morning and evening hours because there is no roundabout. Cars driving towards their respective destination in this area is very inconvenient. This increases the risk of accidents. I think a roundabout here will be very beneficial,” said Lhab Dorji, a taxi driver.
There are several other similar junctions in the capital where having a roundabout would make driving through much simpler and safer.
Several studies and reports reveal that roundabouts reduce the risk of road accidents.
The Thimphu Traffic Police says a roundabout controls and diverts traffic and vehicle movement. It also makes it safer for pedestrians because drivers slow down to use the roundabouts.
Meanwhile, the Thimphu Thromde, who is responsible for the construction of traffic infrastructure in the capital city, says they are planning to construct 8 roundabouts including the junctions at Chang Gedaphu and Olakha. The construction works are expected to begin early next year.
The Thromde constructs roundabouts based on their studies which determine road traffic, volume and density.
Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen