Service lane leading to Bharathi Min Nagar gets congested frequently

Faced with the prospect of being left with cramped approach road to their colonies, residents of Crawford are demanding a broader service road alongside the new road-over-bridge (ROB) that is coming up on the Crawford Main Road.

While the bridge was intended to ease traffic congestion on the road that leads to the Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, residents fear that the facility might leave with traffic problems right at the entry point to their colonies.

Although the Highways Department officials say that the service lanes are of the standard width of 5.5 metres, residents say the lanes are too narrow to accommodate heavy vehicles, especially buses. Already the service road, yet to be fully laid, gets congested during peak hours. Regular commuters, especially schoolchildren, find it difficult to negotiate the heavy traffic.

“The narrow service lane on the eastern side of the ROB could prove to be a curse for Crawford residents. The lane leads to the Bharathi Min Nagar, Anbu Nagar, and several other colonies from the main road but is very narrow and hapless residents are put to hardship while negotiating the service lane already,” says H. Ghouse Baig, a resident and secretary of the Golden Rock branch of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu.

Calling for an inspection by the district authorities, he says the road should be wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic, especially at the Kalaivani Tower junction from where the buses and other vehicles have to enter Bharathi Min Nagar and Anbu Nagar.

“At the current width, city buses cannot enter Crawford and buses bound for Bharthi Min Nagar may be terminated at Crawford entrance itself leaving the residents in the lurch,” he says. If the authorities fail to find a solution now, residents of Crawford will face a problem akin to the one faced by residents of Golden Rock because of the four-lane project which effectively left them without proper access to the highway, he says.

A. Ambrose, another resident, points out that the storm-water drains along the service road has been built and it was essential that the authorities set right the problem immediately so that Crawford residents did not face a problem once the ROB is commissioned.

Residents allege that some shopkeepers have taken advantage of the construction of the storm-water drain and extended their commercial space up to the point.

Meanwhile, construction of the ROB is moving a tardy pace and has overshot the February deadline for completion. Land acquisition is yet to be completed and utility lines are still being shifted. The service lane on the Western side could not be laid pending the completion of land acquisition process.

The ROB was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 28.58 crore, excluding the Railways’ contribution for the bridge portion over the level crossing. About Rs. 5.50 crore was earmarked for land acquisition and shifting of utilities.