By PISAI GUMAR
THERE are a total of 20 potholes in the section of the highway where two PMV buses crashed last Tuesday, killing 43 passengers.
These potholes were measured at 91 steps away from each other, less than 15cm in depth and 30cm in width from opposite lanes that confused both drivers to meet their fate at the middle when trying to veered back to their lanes.
Eight of them (potholes) lie at the left edge of the lane for the Gusap-bound 25 seater PMV coaster bus. The distance lengths of the potholes were 15m.
From the Lae bound PMV’s lane, total of 12 potholes were spread over the white line and stretches towards the edge of the lane. It was measured to be 103 steps in its distance length.
Most depths of the potholes were less that 15cm and the lowest was 50mm.
The illustration (see pictures) according to National Road Safety Council engineer Wilson Warkia and executive director Frank Ao Aku, the Lae bound vehicle when saw the potholes from its lane, veered to the opposite lane; unlike the Gusap-bound vehicle.
After negotiating potholes, the drivers decided to get back to their respective lanes.
“The space between each other to carefully position themselves to negotiate back was 91 metres.
But the evidence of crash proves that they were coming on a very high speed, Mr Aku said.
At such a high speed, the weight of cargoes also contributed to how fast the vehicle travelled and forced the two buses to crash head-on into each other.
The Lae-bound vehicle had hit the Gusap-bound bus very heavily squashing it from the crew to the centre seats.
Mr Aku said both vehicles were travelling at a high speeds thinking they could veer easily back to their lanes.
However, they were unfortunate.
Speeding with such a force has high chances for accidents when small things appear suddenly and that was what has happened, he said.
Along such long road stretches, the speed limits are between 80kph to 100kph.
But most drivers travel beyond 120kph, Mr Aku said.
The experience drivers along the highways always know where the villages, schools, churches, markets, potholes, sharp corners and bents including when to stop.
These drivers travel everyday along that same area and this should not be the case. However, either of the two drivers must have been new to this highway or must have been intoxicated, Mr Aku said.