The latest spell of moderate showers in the city has put residents of Crawford and Edamalaipattipudur into much trouble as the narrow service lanes along the new road over bridge (ROB) coming up at Crawford have turned into slush pools of stagnant rain water over the past couple of days.

Construction of the ROB, which commenced in April 2011, has been moving at a tardy pace, much to the resentment of the residents in Crawford, Edamalaipattipudur and scores of other colonies.

The poor condition of the service lanes in the absence of proper drainage facility has forced motorists and pedestrians to wade through stagnant rain water and slush.

“While the project itself has been progressing at a slow pace, the poor condition of the service lanes has been causing much hardship to the residents and motorists. The situation has turned so bad after the moderate showers and residents of the area will be in more trouble if there were to be heavy rains in the coming days,” said H. Ghouse Baig, a resident of Crawford and secretary of the Golden Rock branch of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu.

With cramped approach road to their colonies, residents of the localities have long been demanding wider service roads. While the bridge would ease traffic congestion on the Madurai Road that leads to the Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, locals fear that the bridge might leave with traffic problems right at the entry point to their colonies.

According to Highways Department sources, the service lanes are of the standard width of 5.5 metres, but residents contend that they were too narrow to accommodate heavy vehicles, especially buses. Already the service road gets congested during peak hours.

Residents point out that the narrow service lane leads to the Bharathi Min Nagar, Anbu Nagar, and several other colonies from the main road . Buses cannot enter Crawford and buses bound for Bharthi Min Nagar may be terminated at Crawford entrance itself leaving the residents in the lurch, they say.

Construction of the ROB, which was scheduled to be completed in February last year, has been delayed due to various reasons including land acquisition and shifting of utilities. Highways Department sources said that nearly 90 per cent of the bridge work has been completed and only two more decks remains to be built.

A senior officer of the Department said that the service lanes will be blacktopped soon and the bridge would be ready by the end of December. Currently, work is underway on constructing a subway at the site.

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.