Poorly-built free lanes take a toll on exempted vehicles

Bad roads causing damage to vehicles, rue drivers

Drivers of exempted vehicles are facing an ordeal while passing through the free lane at toll plazas constructed by the National Highways Authority of India at Bhogapuram, Chilakapalem and Narasannapeta.

While all lanes are properly paved and are wide enough for large vehicles to pass, the free lanes meant for auto-rickshaws, two-wheelers and exempted vehicles are narrow and poorly built, making it difficult for drivers of such vehicles to pass through.

“Irrespective of toll tax, all vehicle owners pay taxes in different forms to the government for maintenance of the roads. It is the responsibility of the NHAI to ensure construction of proper lanes for exempted vehicles also at toll plazas as they cannot pass through the other lanes. Not ensuring proper free lanes is highly deplorable. Vehicles suffer damage to the underbody due to the bad roads. Drivers new to the area will be in for a rude surprise if they fail to completely slow down before entering the free lane,” said Kantubhukta Srinivasa Rao, former president of the Vizianagaram Bar Association.

Some exempted vehicles are even entering cash payment lanes just to avoid passing through the free lane and risking damage to their vehicles. It leads to traffic jams in cash payment lanes where service is poor.

“NHAI should direct contractors to improve the road conditions at toll plazas as the amount to be spent is very little but helps many people every day,” said A.P. Lorry Owners’ Association State vice-president M. Janakiram Reddy.

Toll gate supervisers told The Hindu that construction of roads on both sides would be beneficial for them too as the exempted vehicles would not then need to come into cash and FasTag lanes. They said that the issue would be brought to NHAI officials of Visakhapatnam.

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