The Mettupalayam-Coonoor section of the National Highway 67 which had been rendered useless a little more than two months ago by a number of landsides, was thrown open for one way traffic on Friday. The landslides had been triggered by heavy rains.
With restoration works almost over, the road was opened for light and heavy vehicles proceeding towards Coonoor and Ooty.
The Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran signalled the opening of the road at a ceremony held at Burliar. Among those present were the Collector in-charge S. Kupuswamy and the Regional Transport Officer, D. Venkataraman.
Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Ramachandran said the opening of the road was in keeping with the aim of the government to restore normalcy as early as possible.
Since a bridge near Marappalam was still in need of attention, two-way traffic was not advisable now.
However, within a week or ten days, the road would be ready for normal traffic.
While many of the tourists and regular commuters said they were happy over the resumption of traffic on the section, those in the hospitality and travel sectors opined that it augured well for the ensuing tourist season. However, some, including environmentalists said that caution should be exercised and a constant vigil should be maintained. Those at the helm of affairs should keep in mind the carrying capacity of the road. “Popular decisions often come with a heavy price tag”, they warned.
Referring to the considerable increase in the prices of many items including the essential commodities on account of the high transport cost brought about by the diversion in traffic, residents hoped that the resumption of traffic on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor road would bring down the prices.