- By Khayan Soe Myint
Yangon-Mandalay highway is 336 miles and 3 furlongs from Yangon to No.3 Intersection to Mandalay Saga-Inn Circle with 30 feet wide traffic islands; the highway has 25-wide roads on either side with two lanes.
The Characteristics of Highways
Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw section was opened to the public on March 5, 2009 and Nay Pyi Taw-Mandalay was again opened on 29 October, 2010 and 23 March,2011 respectively, letting the travelers go directly with a hitch. Yangon-Mandalay highway was called a fast road and the drivers have to act according the speed limits recommended by road engineers and authorities concerned. To meet the characteristics of the fast road, vehicles are allowed to go in accordance with speed limits without interference with passers-by, animals , motorcycles and other vehicles.
All kinds of vehicles should drive 60 miles per hour, not more than that speed. That is why warning signposts which indicate 80-100 kilometers per hour should be installed on both sides of the roads. The signposts indicating “those who drive over limits may face death” should also be established in suitable places. Signposts “reduce speed because of detours in front” should be installed; arrows showing crossroads and junctions must be put on the way to these locations.
Five basic reasons of traffic accidents
Fatalities resulting from the accidents on Yangon-Mandalay are being sadly heard. There are five basic reasons why vehicular accidents happened. Among them, only one reason may lead to fatalities.
1. Good steering systems
2. Failures in relation to braking systems
3. Wheels and tires are not in a proper condition
4. Drunk driving and
5. Falling asleep during driving and driving over speed limits
In addition, it is due to cement roads, some people say. In connection with that problem, news articles were written in the Mirror and Myanma Alinn Dailies by the title of “ Human, Vehicles or Roads”. But up until now, vehicular accidents and those of overturned cars keep on going , killing a lot of passengers including monks.
The task has been carried out in two parts: Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw section of 133 miles and two furlongs are covered with asphalt concrete with a change of raised median to depressed median. Nay Pyi Taw-Mandalay section has been paved with asphalt concrete for 43 miles and 6 furlongs, fixing of 27798 reflector bulbs and guard rails are installed with 69 miles and 4 furlongs and 1459 warning signposts were installed along the road.
In addition, financial year of 2018-2019 K. 52.6 million from Union Central Fund were used for Yangon Region Section; K.346.848 million for maintenance of Bago Region Section; K.103.01 million were allocated for the maintenance of Nay Pyi Taw section; K.332.1 million for maintenance cost for Mandalay Section, totaling maintenance cost of K. 538.558 million during the financial year of 2018-2019. From the Union Central Fund of K.5649.154 million for Watergates, road shoulders, drainage systems, payments of asphalt concrete and maintenance of traffic islands were allocated. After getting information and data, I continued to ask Director U Toe Toe of Supervisory Committee for maintenance of the Highway, he explained to me that in order to become an international Expressway it must be fully access-controlled.
Fully access control means:
1) Fast ( No Traffic lights, Junctions, Houses and Shops existed)
2) Comfortable ( Payments must be flexible ) , (Signposts should be fully installed), (Coach Stations, toilets and street lamps must be fully provided)
Inner shoulders and outer shoulders and guard rails must be included in order to prevent passers-by, cows and other animals from crossing over, as well as for motorcycles, slow-moving vehicles and trolleys are not allowed.
The standard of the Highway has not come up to those of International Expressway, at least not compatible with above-mentioned three facts. Originally intended to serve as an Expressway, the public are allowed to use half-completed highway, thus not reaching up to the standard of an international Expressway. To upgrade a modernized 4-lane expressway, safety equipment is being installed, U Toe Toe continued.
Former Yangon-Mandalay highway has a solid 6-inch base layer and 12-inch base layer completed. 177-mile long road was paved with asphalt concrete to serve as a riding quality.
Concerning the upgrading of the traffic islands, present installations of raised median are suitable for city streets, a highway of 45 miles per hour , raised six-lane roads, according to the international standard(AASHTO). Depressed median of traffic islands should be used for the present four-lane expressway. As the traffic islands have the raised median, it is difficult for ambulances to move about and continuous streaming during the rainy season.
Upon inspecting vehicular accidents on the Highway, they usually happen due to exceeding the speed limits, punctured tyres and falling asleep while driving among others. It is also due to traffic islands, by overtaking moving cars and hitting road curbs in the traffic islands. Now the structure or traffic islands has changed from the present design of raised median to that of depressed median, he explained.
Drivers should pay heed to the facts
Upon enquiring to avoid traffic accidents on the highway, drivers should pay heed to the facts. The director U Toe Toe explained that the drivers using the highway should abide by the prescribed rules and regulations such as cars of one’s own driving 100 kilometers per hour, trucks at 60 km and passenger buses at not more than 90km per hour. Bus stations and toilets must be provided for drivers to take a rest every hour at Bawnatgyi Station, Minirest Camp,Phyu Station, Nay Pyi Taw Station, Theegon Station and Saga-inn Station. Most drivers do not know the speed of the cars they drive per second. For example, if a driver going at 100kilometers per hour should know at a speed of 90 feet per second; 110 kilometers at the speed of 100 feet; 120 km at the speed of 110 feet per second; 130 kilometers at the speed of 120 feet per second; 140 kilometers at the speed of 126 feet per second; 150 kilometers at the speed of 135 feet per second; 160 km at the speed of 144 feet per second, U Toe Toe continued.
Ten facts are described to reduce the speed limits :
1) Reduce the speed while avoiding the moving cars
2) Reduce the speed before getting to a bend
3) Reduce the speed while a man crossing the road
4) Reduce the speed when seeing a child
5) Reduce the speed when seeing animals
6) Reduce the speed away from a distance while seeing a small animal
7) Reduce the speed when blurring
8) Reduce the speed when snows fall
9) Reduce the speed when it rains
10) Reduce the speed when crossing the pools.
Translated by Arakan Sein; Ref: Myanma Alinn, 18 March