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Traffic snarls order of the day at Taramani-Sardar Patel Road junction

By P. Oppili

CHENNAI, JUNE 19. Traffic becomes unmanageable at the junction of Taramani Road - Sardar Patel Road every weekday morning, thanks to the increasing number of vehicles using the road, the absence of a pedestrian crossing and the presence of two bus stops.

Traffic police agree that regulating traffic at this junction is becoming difficult during peak hours, especially on the first and last days of the week when more vehicles use this road.

The existing service road was motorable till three years ago, at least for two wheeler riders who could avoid the busy main carriageway. But a couple of years ago pipe-laying work began on this road and it is yet to be re-laid. "If this road is re-laid, the traffic from Tiruvanmiyur can be diverted on the service road at the Women's Polytechnic point. This will ensure free flow up to Madhya Kailash point," say police officials.

Pedestrians complain absence of a crossing at Madhya Kailash junction. People who have to cross the road to gain access to or come out of the Kasturbanagar station of the MRTS line say a `zebra crossing' and pedestrian signal are required immediately.

Adding to the traffic jam is the presence of bus stops on both sides of Sardar Patel Road (near the Regional Labour Institute and CLRI sides). A bus that halts there can choke traffic. Traffic planners say some land on either side of the road can be acquired to widen the stretch.

While road widening can reduce the congestion along the Taramani stretch, the same effort is posting a problem for small industries, shops and a few houses at Kottivakkam on Old Mahabalipuram Road, about 5 km from this point.

More than 200 small and medium industries are located on the stretch. A few months ago officials from the Highways department measured and marked both sides of the road from near the SRP Tools bus stop. While they earmarked 50 feet on the eastern side from the road divider, on the other side they took away 70 ft. As the stretch is soon to be made a six-lane highway from near Madhya Kailash up to Siruseri, and also for laying huge water pipes along the stretch, the Government is acquiring space from the industries, the officials told them.

The small industry owners say, it would then be difficult for them to run the industries within the available space. Already, there were no takers for some of the new shops constructed along the stretch, apprehending more acquisition, they said.

The industrialists suggest a few alternatives. The stretch from S.R.P.Tools up to Kandhanchavadi has to be made one-way. Vehicles heading towards Tiruvanmiyur could be diverted through Taramani by-pass road. The drainage pipes could be taken through this road or laid on the middle of the Old Mahabalipuram road.

The compensation suggested by the Revenue department officials (for land acquisition was not adequate enough. "Without affecting our land, the machines and taking into consideration the livelihood of employees, the Government should implement a suitable scheme," the industrialists said.

However, senior Government officials said field preparatory works were in progress. "All our steps are only people-oriented. Once the Government issues order, the widening project will be completed within a year's time," said the official.

Talking about laying the pipes on the middle of the road, the officials said already pipes had been laid on the middle of the road. But they were damaged due to heavy traffic, resulting in water leaks. This in turn damaged the roads, he said. "Public interest will be certainly taken into consideration," the official added.

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