City stretch hampered by poor maintenance and encroachments

Poor maintenance, heavy encroachments, and shrinking road space have made the city stretch of the Tiruchi-Dindigul National Highway, one of the busiest roads, an accident-prone zone of late. The bridge across the Koraiyar, situated along the road, has developed big cracks on its surface, posing a serious threat to road users. While the National highway is being widened and four-laned from the outskirts of the city, beyond Ramji Nagar, the city stretch has been lying in neglect over the past couple of years.

A proposal to hand over the city stretch of the highway to the State Highways Department is yet to see the light of the day. Consequently, the road virtually falls in a no man’s land with neither the National Highways Authority of India nor the State Highways evincing much interest in the upkeep of the road.

With scores of residential colonies having come up on either side of the highway, the road has witnessed a sharp increase in volume of traffic. Commercial development along the roadsides has led to indiscriminate encroachments, complain residents.

“Accidents have become frequent along the road stretch, especially on the Koraiyar river bridge, with the structure developing gaping holes, and at the sharp curve at Karumandapam. The district authorities should intervene to ensure that the road was maintained properly,” says R.Gopalakrishnan, who commutes on the road daily for work. The gaps on the bridge are so big, vehicles traversing over them experience severe jolt and there have been instances when unwary two-wheeler riders have slipped and fell over.

A road median at the sharp curve at Karumandapam has been obliterated and in the absence of the divider, speeding vehicles are often involved in accidents at the spot. Although the corporation has erected two new bus shelters by realigning them to prevent congestion, the situation has not changed. The shelters were located opposite to each other and one of them was shifted slightly away to prevent traffic snarls. But the town bus crew continue the earlier practice and do not halt at the designated shelter, leading to traffic congestion, residents of Karumandapam say.

“Unless the road is cleared of encroachments fully and widened with medians, accidents will continue to occur. It is high time the authorities turned their attention to the serious problem faced by commuters,” concedes a Corporation councillor.