In the first of a series focussing on traffic bottlenecks across the city, we take a look at Thirumangalam junction, where residents have had to battle clogged roads for months on end, mainly due to the delay in the construction of a flyover, but also because of other projects in the area including Metro Rail

Anna Nagar may be one of Chennai’s best-planned areas, but travelling on its roads now, is nothing short of harrowing.

The snail-like pace of construction of a flyover at the Thirumangalam junction has worsened traffic in an area that was already choking.

Work on the Rs. 60.23 crore flyover began in 2011 under the Highways Department, and was aimed at facilitating the smooth flow of vehicles across two intersections — one at Anna Nagar Second Avenue and Thirumangalam Main Road junction, on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai.

But frequent delays, have made things worse than they were, forcing motorists to take detours or spend long hours inching through clogged roads. With several important roads including Shanthi Colony Road, Second Avenue, 13th Main Road, Third Avenue and 18th Main Road made one-ways to facilitate Metro Rail work in the areas, traffic that was already messy, has turned into a nightmare, residents said.

Added to this, earlier this month, the Water Resources Department cordoned off a stretch of Third Avenue in Anna Nagar East for a long-pending project to construct a channel to divert excess water from the Otteri Nullah to Cooum river.

The Thirumangalam junction is a vital link for residents of Mogappair, who use it to reach areas such as Koyambedu, Vadapalani and Aminjikarai. For several months now, residents have had to take a detour of 2-3 km from the Thirumangalam road to reach the Second Avenue junction, which is actually only a few metres away, as the road has been made a one-way.

The area is dotted with several schools and hospitals, and the delay in the project has especially affected children and patients, who now have to spend at least half an hour on the Anna Nagar roads, for what used to be a five-minute commute, residents said.

S. Venkatesan, a resident of the area, complained that several important roads have already been made one-ways due to Metro Rail work. If the flyover work was expedited, residents would be relieved from traffic congestion in at least portion of the area, he said.

V. Rajan, a resident of Mogappair, said that the flyover was a welcome initiative, as traffic here on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai desperately needed regulation. But with the work progressing extremely slowly, residents have had to endure detours as well as travel on stretches battered with potholes.

Mr. Rajan added that autorickshaw drivers also fleeced residents by demanding Rs. 100 to ply a short distance of 4-5 km to Second Avenue from Mogappair, citing the number of one-ways in the area.

Parents and schoolchildren in the area are invariably delayed due to the vehicle pile-up on the road every morning. C. Raja Punitha, a resident of Korattur said “I have to travel via 18th Main Road, 13th Main Road and use several interior roads to reach School Road, Anna Nagar, instead of taking a simple right turn from Jawaharlal Nehru Salai as the road has been made one-way.”

With the road median removed near the Anna Nagar West bus depot, several motorists use it as a short-cut route, risking their lives and inconveniencing other motorists, residents said. Residents also demanded that a damaged portion of the road along the flyover portion area, be re-laid with concrete, to withstand the heavy flow of traffic.

According to officials of the highways department, around 60 per cent of the work on the 805-metre-long flyover has been completed. All the 22 piers have been completed, and 7 of the 21 deck slabs have been placed.

The flyover is expected to be thrown open to the public by August, an official said. Work to provide 7.5 metre-wide service roads on both sides of the flyover is likely to commence in two weeks. Land acquisition for construction of stormwater drains is also on, he added.

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