Government officials held a ceremony Thursday at the new Paso Ancho underpass for the Circunvalación bypass highway. Motorists have suffered for years there when the intersection was a traffic circle called informally La Guacamaya.
Sometimes that line of waiting cars stretched for several miles at peak hours. An estimated 70,000 vehicles pass this spot every weekday.
What the motorists may not know is that the waiting in line also can be bad for the health.
The University of Surrey reported on a study Thursday that said pollution inside cars was found to be 40 percent higher during prolonged roadway stops.
Researchers cited World Health Organization statistics that said persons dying of air pollution caused this way were 10 times as many as those killed in road accidents. University researchers added that “in traffic jams, or at red traffic lights with other vehicles stationary in front, research has shown that if we close the car windows and switch off the fan, this gave us the lowest exposure to pollutants. It is also safe to put fans onto the setting where they re-circulate air within the car without drawing polluted air in from outside.”
Meanwhile, the Circunvalación has two other traffic circles, and plans are to eliminate these too.