Finding a solution to ease the traffic congestion on the Athupalam-Ukkadam stretch is akin to cutting the Gordian knot. At least, that is the popular perception.

Not so, if the Kuniamuthur residents are to be believed. They say that an alternative road connecting Kuniamuthur with Selvapuram exists but it has been neglected for long.

The road branches off the Kuniamuthur Road near the Kurichi Canal, runs parallel to the channel for about 3 km and joins the Ukkadam – Sundakkamuthur Road, near Puttuvikki. The locality comes under Ward 87 of the Coimbatore Corporation.

The road, an ideal alternative to the Athupalam-Ukkadam Road, has remained in a state neglect for quite a long time, laments N.G. Prabhuram, a farmer. “The usable width of what is supposed to be a 40-foot wide road is only around 15 – 20 feet.” The unusable width has been encroached upon by farmers. Once the road widening work is taken up, the farmers will move their fence to pave way. That is the only encroachment, he says.

The Coimbatore Corporation should also lay a new road for around 600 m because only a beaten track exists there. And then it should also repair the causeway across River Noyal in Puttuvikki.

The causeway, after the recent rain, is more of a loose assembly of concrete bars. Prior to the rain, though, it was only marginally better, says S.P. Shanmugasundaram, a Sundakkamuthur resident.

If the alternative road and the causeway are developed, it will help hundreds of people who drive towards Selvapuram, Ukkadam and to localities north of the city, as they will be able to by-pass many congested stretches.

For people proceeding from Podanur and areas south of the city to Perur and north of Ukkadam, the road is the alternative to Athupalam-Ukkadam Road, adds Mr. Prabhuram.

People heading towards R.S. Puram or Thadagam Road can also use the road by taking the Sundakkamuthur Road, Chetty Veethi, Sullivan Street and Gandhi Park, says D.P. Sudhakar, a resident of Chetty Street.

In the absence an alternative road, the Athupalam-Ukkadam Road is packed with vehicles, especially during peak hours. The vehicle line-up extends for 3 km, even up to the Kuniamuthur High School, Mr. Prabhuram points out.

The problem will turn acute once the State Government begins the fly-over project there, he says and adds that the road's development then becomes imperative.

Sources in the Corporation say that they will visit the alternative road, study what needs to be done and place a subject before the authorities concerned and the Council for approval. As for the repair of the causeway across River Noyyal, they say that the Council has already approved the work for Rs. 2.52 crore. The work will begin at the earliest.

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