Residents demand steps to widen road at least by 10 to 15 feet

Vayalur Road, the primary access to scores of residential colonies that have mushroomed along either side of the road in recent years, is literally bursting at its seams unable to cater to the rapid urbanisation and the huge increase in the volume of traffic. With encroachments shrinking the already narrow road, everyday commute to the city is proving to be a harrowing experience for residents of the locality.

Despite being a flood-prone area, Vayalur Road is among the fastest growing residential belts in the city, although most of the colonies that have mushroomed on either side of the road in recent years still lack basic amenities. Real estate developers were quick to cash in on the locality’s proximity to the city, but the very advantage that saw the rapid urbanisation has turned a bane now.

More than the lack of amenities and the recurring fear over inundation during the monsoon, the chaotic traffic condition on the Vayalur Road is turning out to be more worrisome for the residents these days.

Residents and even the corporation councillor blame it on the increasing encroachments on the road, which comes under the highways department.

Several shops and commercial establishments that have cropped up along the road seem to have encroached upon the road by putting temporary structures to get some additional space for business. Most of the multi-storeyed commercial complexes along the road do not have parking area for customers, forcing them to park their vehicles on the roadside, which only compounds the problem. The problem is acute in places such as Srinivasa Nagar, Uyyakondan Thirumalai and a few other colonies along the road.

“There are several encroachments right from Puthur Four Roads Junction, where the road originates, to Uyyakondan Thirumalai and beyond. Not a single day passes without accidents. It is high time the corporation and highways department take steps to remove the encroachments and widen the road by at least 10 to 15 feet on either side,” says K.S.Nagarajan, councillor representing ward 53. The road has shrunk to less than 30-feet in some places, he says.

Local residents complain that accidents have become all too frequent. Given the inadequacy of public transport and the overcrowding in city buses, many residents are forced to send their children by private transport or in bi-cycles or two-wheelers. “Though I send my son by cycle to school, the increasingly chaotic traffic on the road has made me apprehensive,” says Chithra, a resident.

A cross-section of residents feels that it is high time that the highways department develop the road. Better still would be a takeover of the road by the corporation, they say.

Many residents also demand steps to streamline traffic at the T-junction just before Bishop Heber College, which they say has become an accident-prone zone as buses halt at the turning, often throwing traffic out of gear.