Residents may have to bear the brunt for the next two or three years

With the State Highways Department commencing work on the construction of a new multi-level bridge near the Railway Junction, the entry point to the Dindigul Highway near Periyamilaguparai has turned a traffic bottleneck in the city.

The new multilevel bridge, to be built at a cost of Rs. 81.40 crore, will come up in place of the existing narrow bridge at the Viralimalai Road intersection. Both the Highways Department and the railways have commenced work simultaneously at the site.

The project was being executed in two stages and in the first stage, a new three-lane bridge with five arms will be built at a cost of Rs. 44.28 crore adjacent to the existing bridge. The bridge is expected to be completed in three years.

The bridge would run for 1.8 km and the arm towards Chennai Bypass and Aristo Hotel junction would have three lanes each at the higher and lower levels.

The Highways Department has begun work on the construction of the bridge near Ponnagar, the entry point to the Dindigul Highway in the city, after laying a temporary road to divert traffic between the V.V.V. Theatre and Periya Milaguparai Junction.

The critical intersection at the Periya Milaguparai Junction is witnessing frequent traffic snarls given the huge volume of traffic. While vehicles heading towards the highway from the city are allowed to go straight, those proceeding towards the Central Bus Stand from the highway have to go around a v-shaped island near Gorimedu.

This makes for an acute U-turn and often heavy vehicles and buses get stranded, leading to a pile up of vehicles the Collector’s Office Road and the road leading to the Aristo Hotel Junction.

Local residents point out that vehicles converging from three directions at this intersection causes chaos.

“The traffic police and the highways officials to devise a better way to manage the traffic at this intersection,” says R. Gopal, who commutes on the stretch every day.

“It could take two or three years for the bridge to be completed and we have to bear the brunt. Worse than the traffic congestion is the heavy dust pollution at the construction site, causing major problems for road users and residents in the vicinity.

“A kutcha road between the ‘diversion road’ and an existing lane running along Ponnagar has not been blacktopped and hence vehicles passing through the area kick up heavy dust. The authorities should do something to check the dust pollution,” says C. Balasubramanian, honorary president, District Exnora, who lives in Karumandapam off the Dindigul Highway.

Official sources said recently a one-way system was enforced and traffic cops had been posted at the work site in view of the congestion.

With more traffic diversions to be enforced around the Aristo Junction as the work progresses, a detailed traffic management plan is essential, they say.