The level-crossing on Dindigul Road choked with vehicles as 25 trains cross the stretch in a day
Scores of vehicles pile up on both sides of the railway crossing across the Dindigul Road whenever a train chugs in or out of Manapparai station.
Train crossing on this arterial road happens over 25 times a day, mostly at night. With the Tiruchi Road remaining closed, all vehicles have to take the Dindigul Road to enter or leave Manapparai.
The reason: an overpass waiting for inauguration and another with ‘work in progress’ signboard.
Manapparai has only three main roads that connect major destinations — Tiruchi Road, Dindigul Road, and Thuvarankurichi Road, which leads to Madurai and the southern hinterland.
Two bridges over the railway line and a subway were planned to ease traffic congestion in the town that is notorious for narrow roads. But the delay in opening at least one of the bridges has made traffic snarls a routine affair.
Buses bound for Dindigul, Theni, and Periakulam do not enter the town at night and offload passengers on the four-lane highway. Even during daytime, some of the buses bypass Manaparai and those which enter the town take considerable time to reach the bus stand and get out of it.
Passengers who are forced to get down on the bypass have to walk three km to reach the town.
The overpass on the Tiruchi Road has been completed and now wears a green coat of paint.
Work on the subway is over only on the Manapparai side. The half-done subway, which stores storm water, is a fertile ground for mosquito breeding.
On Sunday, traffic had to be diverted over this bridge as the Dindigul Road was choked after a vehicle broke down near the railway gate.
After four hours, the Tiruchi Road bridge was closed and only two-wheelers are allowed to use the facility now.
“In the last three years, we are paying a fare of Rs. 13 between Manapparai and Tiruchi, against the normal fare of Rs. 11 as buses have to travel an additional 3 km to reach the highway. Even funeral processions take the circuitous route,” says S.J. Rajkumar, Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam councillor representing the 16th ward of Manaparai municipality.
The municipal council adopted a resolution moved on September 27 by N. Murugan, tenth ward councillor, to recommend naming the bridges after the former Chief Ministers C.N. Annadurai and M. Karunanidhi.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and DMK have 12 members each in the municipal council headed by Santha Veerasamy of the DMK.
Besides loss of fuel and time, safety of passengers alighting on the bypass is a matter of concern for residents. There have been many chain-snatching attempts on the Dindigul Road by culprits riding two-wheelers.
“It is unsafe for women and children to walk from the bypass to Manaparai after sunset,” says Mr. Rajkumar.
With the two bridges virtually sealing the entry and exit points to Manaparai, residents expect the Tiruchi Road overpass, on which work was started on January 7, 2011, to be thrown open for traffic soon.
Work on the Dindigul Road bridge can be completed only when traffic is diverted on the Tiruchi Road bridge.