NHAI has failed to connect service lanes across several minor bridges

The absence of a service lane across the minor bridge near the Kumbakonathan Salai intersection along the four-lane Tiruchi-Chennai By-pass Road has made it a dangerous stretch on the highway, prone for accidents.

Though the four-laning work on the bypass road, forming part of the Tiruchi-Padalur section of the Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway, was completed a couple of years back, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has failed to connect the service lanes across several minor bridges along the city stretch of the by-pass road, much to the consternation of motorists. Consequently, the service lane on the city stretch lies in bits and pieces.

“There are at least four such places along the city stretch of the by-pass road where the NHAI has not linked the service lanes across minor bridges. It is essential that they connect the service roads to segregate the city traffic from the highway corridor.

Though we have been representing the matter for the past couple of years, no action has been taken yet,” complains M.Sekaran, president, Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations. The recommended speed on this stretch, currently at 80 km per hour, should be made only applicable after completing the pending works to prevent accidents, he says.

Mr.Sekaran, a member of the District Road Safety Committee, says that he and the City police have been raising the issue at almost every meeting of the committee.

“NHAI officials have been saying proposals for linking the service lanes have been sent to their headquarters and approval was awaited. But this has been their stock reply for the past couple of years,” he says.

In the absence of service lanes across the minor bridges, vehicles enter the four-lane carriage way on the wrong side, resulting in frequent accidents.

The situation is particularly bad near the Kumbakonathan Salai-Chennai By-pass Road intersection, say motorists. Vehicles entering the highway from the city and those entering the city via Kumbakonathan Salai from the highway have to use the service lane.

The lane does not run across a minor bridge located in between, forcing vehicles to use the two-lane carriageway of the highway on both directions.

“It is very difficult to spot the vehicle entering the highway from the service lane from the opposite side. With a large number of trucks and buses entering the city from Chennai side, the stretch has become very busy and dangerous,” says Vasudevan, a taxi driver.

Many motorists also feel it is high time the NHAI considered building an underpass for vehicles to cross over the highway, as a large number of vehicles enter the Kumbakonathan Salai.