Fortyfive roads in suburban areas belonging to the Highways Department, which have now become part of Chennai Corporation, are soon to be upgraded. The roads will be developed to make them on a par with those in the city.

Senior officials of the department said that as a first step work has begun to assess the roads and list out the facilities available such as signage and median. “As these roads are along residential localities, the respective local bodies had already provided certain features like street-lighting and have been clearing garbage. We will be looking at making them friendly for motorists and pedestrians,” he said. The Highways Department is currently holding discussions with the Chennai Corporation in this regard, he added.

The roads are likely to get footpaths, zebra crossings, street lights, medians, stormwater drains (SWD), subways, foot over bridges and culverts to link surplus courses.

Mark Selvaraj, a transportation engineer, said smooth flow of traffic at a certain speed limit is the main feature of highways. Roads in urban areas have more requirements than just being traffic leads. “Space has to be provided for traffic signals, bus shelters, bus bays and service utilities, including power cables. Parking space has to be earmarked alongside the road near commercial establishments. Links to commercial and residential establishments need to be provided,” he explained.

A total 248 km of roads in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts would be brought under the control of the Divisional Engineer, Chennai City Roads, Highways Department. The roads that would be upgraded include Thirumangalam Road, Cudappah Road near Puthagaram, Ambattur-Red Hills Road, Mount Poonamallee Road, Tiruvottiyur High Road, Manali Mathur Road and portions of Ennore Expressway and Arcot Road.

Former Tiruvottiyur Municipal Chairman R.Jayaraman said on Tiruvottiyur High Road in a 5 km stretch there are four bottlenecks at Therady, Kaladipet, Sugam Hospital and Ajax. If the Highways proposal to make it a 65 feet wide road with SWD, median, footpaths and streetlights, traffic congestion in Tiruvottiyur would reduce. SWD from interior roads could be linked to the drains on this road and help prevent water logging in many residential areas.

“In two stretches the Department has closed SWD that it had constructed. I wonder why proper planning was not done,” he asked.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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