The city Corporation had first mooted the proposal to construct the skywalks in November 2011

Chinnamani, wife of Swaminathan, is scared of crossing the Trichy Road near the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital Junction. The elderly woman takes one step at a time while waving her hand at vehicles passing by to let her cross over to the other side.

A part of her challenge gets over when she moves out of the bus shelter opposite the CMCH to the road. The second half is gets completed once she reaches the road near the median and the task is complete when she climbs on to the pavement abutting the CMCH compound.

“This is difficult for me, but I don’t have a choice,” she says moving towards her work place. She is employed at a private firm near the CMCH.

There are thousands of people like her who have a tough time crossing the busy CMCH stretch of the Trichy Road, where buses move into the bus bay, vehicles come from Big Bazaar Street and railway station on the west and Sungam Junction and Race Course on the east.

The intensity of the pedestrian crossing could be felt by looking at the figures from the CMCH alone: 6,000 out-patients a day, as many caretakers, attendants of around 1,000 in-patients, the staff there and a few more. In short, the number stands around 13,000 a day.

The people’s movement affects the flow of vehicles at the spot and thereby delays the entry of ambulances into the hospital. The travel time will come down by at least a minute or two if the pedestrian movement is regulated, says an ambulance driver attached to the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) 108 ambulance services.

The GVK EMRI management alone takes 20 – 25 patients a day into the CMCH. There are private ambulances as well.

To address the problem the Coimbatore Corporation proposed a skywalk to enable pedestrians cross the road. The Corporation Council passed a resolution in this regard in November last year. It also said it would construct the skywalks at the Coimbatore Railway Junction, Ramanathapuram Junction and Singanallur Junction.

The Corporation had first mooted the proposal in November 2011 to construct the skywalks in front of the CMCH, Coimbatore Railway Junction, Ukkadam and Mettupalayam Road bus stands. But following suggestion from the Mayor S.M. Velusamy, a few changes were made.

Similarly, the Corporation also mooted proposals to have multi-tier car parks at R.S. Puram – D.B. Road and Gandhipuram – Cross Cut Road.

The Corporation then engaged the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited to prepare estimates for the skywalks. It also sought financial help. By the ides of December the consultant engaged by the TNUIFSL presented the estimates and also a project report. But the Corporation was unhappy.

The Corporation said that it had asked the consultant to modify the proposals in such a manner that the multi-tier car parking also doubled up as shopping complex. Thereafter nothing much happened.

The Corporation was very much working on the project. It had floated tenders for the two skywalks in the first phase and that included the spot near the CMCH, said Commissioner G. Latha. The Corporation would also soon build the car parks, she added.

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