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3 years on, NHAI’s underpass project still remains on paper

Free-for-all:Chaos prevails at Kondayampettai-Sanjeevi Nagar junction on Tiruchi-Chennai Bypass Road in Tiruchi.Photo: M. Srinath

It is more than three years since National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) announced its plan to build an underpass at Kondayampettai/Sanjeevi Nagar intersection and service lanes across six minor bridges along the city stretch of Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway. However, the project is yet to take off.

The inordinate delay has caused much resentment among road users.

The NHAI’s decision came after public outcry over a spate of accidents at the spot (intersection to the rear side of Thiruvanaikovil) and inspection by Union Minister of State Pon. Radhakrishnan in April 2015.

NHAI officials had then said that an underpass would be built within a year once the proposal was cleared.

It was also planned to build service lanes across seven minor bridges to ensure continuity. The total cost of the project was then estimated around Rs. 30 crore.

The Kondayampettai intersection has been witnessing accidents frequently, ever since the bypass road was made a four-lane highway by NHAI.

A large number of vehicles, especially lorries and buses, cross the highway at the intersection from either side, creating chaos.

The police have placed temporary barricades to regulate vehicles. In recent months, traffic has increased manifold at the junction following the closure of Thiruvanaikovil Trunk Road to facilitate the construction of a new overbridge. Construction of underpass was expected to help reduce accidents to a large extent.

Similarly, the absence of service lanes across minor bridges between Senthaneerpuram and the Cauvery bridge has been posing a threat to road users.

The situation is particularly bad near Kumbakonathan Salai-Chennai Bypass Road intersection, Sanjeevi Nagar and Oyamari Road intersection. As the service lane does not run across minor bridges, vehicles are forced to use the main carriageway of the highway on both directions. Often, vehicles have to sneak in the wrong direction across the main carriageway at these spots against speeding traffic coming from the opposite direction.

M. Sekaran, president, Federation of Consumer and Services Organisations, regretted that the NHAI failed to act on its promise.

Mr. Sekaran, who is also a member of the District Road Safety Council, pointed out that he had even taken the issue to court and urged NHAI to execute the works within a specific time frame.

Sources in NHAI said the estimate for the works had to be revised and the process was on. However, they were not able to specify when the process would be completed.


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