Bumps, potholes put motorists' manoeuvring skill to test

While making the Tiruchi-Chennai Bypass Road a four lane on the outskirts of the city has made for smoother and faster movement of traffic, the condition of service lanes in quite a few stretches along the road has spelt trouble for motorists.

The pathetic condition of the stretch of service lane at the Thiruvanaikovil/Kondayampettai traffic intersection along the highway has been posing a grave threat to a large number of motorists who commute through the lane every day.

The service lane that leads to the rear side of Thiruvanaikovil temple from the highway has been badly damaged in recent months owing to the continuous movement of private drinking water tankers. The private tankers, catering to the requirements of hotels, industries, and hospitals in the city, have been tapping water from the bore wells along the roadside at this spot.

The incessant movement of the heavy vehicles has left the service lane with huge potholes, making it extremely difficult for motorists to negotiate the curve to take the road leading to Thiruvanaikovil.

With a bus halt for town buses close by, commuters face difficulties in crossing over the road amidst slush and stagnant water.

“With huge bumps and potholes, the stretch has become hard to negotiate, especially for two-wheeler riders. Even cars and other heavy vehicles find it difficult to manoeuvre as the lane is virtually in tatters. Many students too have to pass by this road to reach schools in Thiruvanaikovil and Srirangam. The intersection by itself has become an accident-prone zone and the poor condition of the service lane has aggravated the situation,” says Venkatesan, a resident of Thiruvanaikovil, who regularly commutes through the road.

The NHAI, which even employs sweepers to clean up the service lane and the highway regularly, has failed to take note of this problem so far, regret local residents.

Apart from repairs to the service lane, welfare organisations have been demanding an underpass at the intersection as accidents have become frequent. Blaming the National Highways Authority of India for poor planning and designing of the four-lane project in the city stretch, N.Ramakrishnan, a civic activist, emphasises the need for construction of an underpass at least three places along the city stretch of the bypass road.

“They need to construct underpasses at the Thiruvanaikovil intersection, the Cauvery south bank, and the G.Corner junction as pedestrians and motorists are finding it very difficult to cross the highway at these intersections,” he says.

The NHAI in a recent reply to his representations sent through the Chief Minister’s Special Cell has flatly rejected the demand. It maintained that ‘pedestrian crossing painting,’ road marking, and lighting arrangements have been made at the Thiruvanaikovil intersection for pedestrians to cross the road safely. The demand for construction of an underpass could be considered when the highway was widened further into a six-lane, the NHAI has said.

Motorists also complain over the absence of service lanes across minor bridges along the bypass road. The NHAI has failed to connect the service lanes across four minor bridges along the city stretch of the bypass road. In the absence of service lanes across the minor bridges, vehicles use the main carriage way on both directions, resulting in frequent accidents. The NHAI, in its response to Mr.Ramakrishnan’s petition, has come up with a stock reply that proposals have been forwarded to its headquarters.

The continuing practice of truck drivers to use the service lanes as parking area also goes unchecked, residents complain.