The Highways Department has called for expression of interest (EOI) from consultants for preparation of detailed project report to upgrade three arterial roads – Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Inner Ring Road – to world class standards.

The Department is seeking a comprehensive solution instead of just taking up measures to improve the traffic flow at junctions. Its officials said that the consultant would assess the potential of introducing BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) and having service lanes, cycle tracks, bus bays, landscaping and proper facilities for pedestrians. “Private property access, bus stops, relocation of service utilities, junction improvements and flyovers if needed should be studied and presented as part of the study,” the sources added.

The detailed project report would cover design, drawing, street scaping, environment management plan and resettlement action plan.

Keeping in mind the limits of the expanded Chennai Corporation, the study is being conducted for the entire stretch of Anna Salai from Muthuswamy bridge, near Island Grounds, to the GST Road on Tambaram. Poonamallee High Road would also be studied in its entirety from Muthuswamy bridge to Vanagaram.

For the Inner Ring Road, also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, the southern and central portions running from Madhavaram junction to SRP Tools junction would only be included. The northern portion is being developed as part of EMRIP (Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project) by the National Highways Authority of India.

World Bank funds under the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Project III would be utilised for the study. The consultant would be selected on the basis of similar works that the firm has carried out, the availability of trained professionals and experience.

The evaluation process would take 45 days after which the selected consultant is expected to submit the proposal in nine months. The modality of implementation of the study would be decided by the government.

C.N.R.Selvaraj, a resident of Ayanavaram, who travels via Poonamallee High Road daily to work in Adyar, said that walking along the arterial road was difficult. “There are too many obstructions on the footpaths, which should be removed. I change buses near the KMC, which is a major point for passengers and visitors to the hospital. Facilities could be created to park vehicles on such important roads. The government should also look at greening as part of the improvement plans.”

Raj Cherubal of City Connect said that providing service lanes and bus bays using the available space on these arterial roads was possible. “It only takes proper planning. They have done it in other countries in cities where peak hour traffic is comparable with Chennai roads.”

K.P.Subramanian, former professor, Urban Engineering Department, Anna University, while welcoming the idea of introducing the cost-effective solution of BRTS, said that there was no point in providing greater thrust on these roads alone. “Improvement to the pedestrian facilities and provision of cycle tracks are welcome ideas. These are things that were neglected. Along with formation of service lanes, they should enforce rules regarding parking. In many areas, service roads are used as parking lots,” he said.

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