Residents angry over potholes, waterlogging, dust, and rising accident count

Fed up with potholes, waterlogging, dust and incomplete footpaths, residents along Rajiv Gandhi Salai, popularly known as OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road), are wondering why they must pay to the toll fee for the stretch.

The road, maintained by the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC), was inaugurated on October 29, 2008 and toll collection commenced from December 15 the same year.

T. Chandrasekharan, a resident of Thoraipakkam, said that in several stretches, including near Sholinganallur junction, footpaths and service lanes were yet to be completed. “Even in the stretches that have been completed, many duct openings don’t have manhole covers. It poses a threat to pedestrians and motorists alike.”

B. Kannan, another resident, said that maintenance had deteriorated in the last year or so. “You can see plants and weeds growing on the mud collected near the median, which is also broken at many spots. The height of the pavement varies from point to point. Near Sholinganallur, the slope is so steep that even a light utility vehicle finds it difficult to navigate it,” he said.

Traffic jams now occur round the clock, said residents. J. Premkumar, a resident of Mettukuppam, said that snarls were common as late as 10.30 p.m. from the SRP Tools junction to TIDEL park junction. “When it rains, traffic slows down considerably,” he added.

Lack of police presence and increasing number of accidents are other causes of worry. Annie George, who works in an IT company on OMR, said “I have witnessed many accidents, some of them involving youngsters, because they didn’t know where the potholes are and where the bad patches are,” she said.

She also questioned the need for a toll plaza within the Chennai Corporation limits.

An advocate, who did not want to be named, said that the location of the toll plaza was against a Central government notification of 2008, which says toll plazas should be established beyond a distance of 10 km from the municipal or local town limits.

A road expert said that toll plazas should come up only when there is an alternative road. “The road was originally formed for those in the IT sector. But now, the toll road does not allow people to drive fast and the maintenance is also poor. It’s just another road but here, they collect toll,” he said.

Officials at TNRDC said that the state of the road was reviewed a few days ago and a proper plan for maintenance had been drawn up. “It’s been five years since the road was launched. Everything from the road surface has to be renewed and we will take up the works shortly.”

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