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East Boulevard Road can help reduce congestion

Lorries parked along East Boulevard Road in Tiruchi.

The severe traffic congestion on arterial roads around the main business area near the Rockfort in the run up to the Deepavali festival has strengthened demands for effective utilisation of East Boulevard Road in traffic management plan of the police.

East Boulevard Road, which runs parallel to West Boulevard Road, remains largely underutilised, essentially due to a bottleneck near the Gandhi Market, where a stretch of road has turned very narrow over the years due to heavy encroachment by traders and vendors.

Consequently, the entire East Boulevard Road between the Town Railway Station and Thanjavur Road is used largely as a parking area for trucks and roadsides are occupied by motor mechanics catering to the demands of lorry operators. Buses are not operated on the road for several years now. Sporadic attempts to resume bus services on the road have failed to take off.

The recent unsuccessful attempt to shift the traders of the Gandhi Market to the newly built market at Kallikudi on the outskirts of the city gave rise to the hope of public transport being restored on East Boulevard Road. But the move to shift the traders proved abortive and with it the possibility of resuming bus services too seems to have dimmed.

Restoration of bus services on the road is seen as important in the context of increasing congestion on West Boulevard Road. The week ahead of Deepavali saw the old city limits witnessing severe traffic congestion, despite various measures taken by the police to streamline traffic and regulate parking. Arterial roads such as West Boulevard Road, College Road, Karur By-pass Road, Madurai Road, Chinthamani, Chathram Bus Stand and Gandhi Market areas witnessed bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours together for five or six days before Deepavali.

“It is becoming a nightmarish experience for motorists to traverse the roads especially during festival seasons. Thousands of people converge at the city’s main business locality and the existing infrastructure is unable to cater to the rising vehicle population. The authorities should come up with effective plans to divert a part of the traffic through other roads.

The only option available in the old city limits is to open up East Boulevard Road,” observed Raju Sundaram, a resident of Rockfort area.

Many residents and activists say that East Boulevard Road, if rid of encroachments, could be used to divert a substantial volume of bus and other traffic between Chathram Bus Stand/ Odathurai Road and Thanjavur Road. “A few improvements at certain narrow stretches can ensure smooth flow of traffic on the road. But the authorities seem to be oblivious to this option” said a trader.

Opening up the road would provide bus connectivity to the Town Railway Station, residents say.


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