The completion of the four-lane work on the Chennai By-pass Road though a major relief for motorists in the city has come as a bane for residents of Golden Rock, Melakalkandarkottai and several other colonies.
For, the main entry point from the city to the Golden Rock via G.Corner has been blocked after the by-pass has been made into a four-lane highway. Consequently, no vehicle proceeding from TVS Tollgate could now enter Golden Rock from the by-pass road.
Though a service lane has been provided between TVS Tollgate and G.Corner, it serves no purpose as far as these residents are concerned, as they could no longer cross over the highway.
Instead they have to take a detour of about two kilometres to go up to Senthaneerpuram, crossing over the new by-pass bridge, to take an u-turn and return to enter the Golden Rock main road from the left.
Otherwise, they would have to go via the Pudukottai Highway to join the Ponmalaipatti Road, which makes for a detour of more than four to five km, complain residents. The city police, in a public notification, have announced that the right turn at the G.Corner would remain permanently closed as it was located right on the descent of the new bridge. Keeping it open would only give room for accidents. They have also advised motorists against taking the u-turn at Senthaneerpuram, where again it would be too dangerous to cross the highway.
Hence, all motorists proceeding towards Golden Rock from the city have been advised to go via Subramaniapuram, Jail Corner and Ponmalaipatti Road.
Yet most two-wheeler riders could be seen crossing over the road median on the highway at the G. Corner throwing caution to the winds. With the Southern Railway's Central Workshops, which has over 5,000 employees on its rolls, and the Railway Colony located inside the complex, the road is a busy thoroughfare. Besides, residents of Melakalkandarkottai, Ponmalaipatti and several other colonies beyond the Railway Colony have been using the road for decades, points out C.Balasubramanian, secretary, District Exnora.
G.Corner is a critical junction. Apart from thousands of residents, material for the workshop has to be moved cross the highway. Building an underpass/subway for vehicles at this junction is an imperative need so as to provide a safe approach route for the people, says H. Ghouse Baig, secretary, Golden Rock Branch, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu. Mr.Baig, who is also an employee of the Railway Workshop, points out that the 200-bedded Railway Divisional Headquarters Hospital was also situated inside the Railway Colony.
Enquiries reveal that a service lane that is to be laid between G.Corner and TVS Tollgate has been held up, owing to court cases filed by a few property owners over the land acquisition. The service lane, proposed for a width of seven metres, would be laid as and when the site was available. This was intended to be a two-way service lane. Currently, a kutcha lane serves as the service road which can be used by two-wheelers and cars to reach TVS Tollgate from G.Corner.
Sources also reveal that the project concessionaire had initially mooted a proposal for building a subway at the site and asked the railways to provide some land and money. However, the proposal failed to materialise.
Residents and employees of Golden Rock and other places would now have to pin their hopes on the early and favourable settlements of the court cases to pave the way for the two-way service lane to restore their main access route. Some say even this would not fully solve the problem. The railways and the National Highways Authority of India should make immediate and joint efforts to build a subway at the junction, residents demand.