In a few weeks, traffic congestion on the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge across the Adyar River will be a thing of the past. The Highways Department is just about to complete construction of the Rs.13.06-crore three-lane bridge adjacent to the existing facility.
On completion, the two bridges will together have seven lanes. “We have just two deck slabs to construct. However, the Chennai Corporation is yet to remove a few fruit and flower shops situated opposite the Malar Hospital. We need that land to connect the bridge to that side. It has been a year since we paid Rs.41 lakh to the civic body to construct alternative shops for the shopkeepers. We hope the Corporation will expedite the process,” said a source in the Highways Department.
These fruit and flower shops had been shifted 13 years ago from near the bus stops in Adyar to the present location. Even at that point of time, they had said that not many customers patronised their shops as the location was not very convenient.
Of the 32 shops, only 3 to 4 are being used by the shopkeepers. “Many people used to think these are public toilets and ask to use them. Corporation officials are now asking that shopkeepers who have not used the shops pay rent arrears of a few lakhs before it provide alternative shops,” said a shopkeeper.
Sources in the Chennai Corporation said notices have been issued to shopkeepers and they had agreed to move. The Corporation Council would decide upon where to construct new shops or allot shops to the shopkeepers, the sources said.
The widening of the bridge would help to reduce traffic pile up during rush hour. In the mornings, vehicles from the Adyar side pile up near the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge and in the evenings such a situation prevails for Adyar-bound vehicles.
S. Ahamed, a resident of Neelankarai, said that it was very difficult to drive home from Royapettah in the evenings. “Traffic moves slowly and two-wheelers and autorickshaws try to nip in wherever they can. One has to be constantly on the look out for a gap in the traffic and turn into interior roads to enter OMR or reach Thiruvanmiyur. Traffic lines extend beyond the Ambika Appalam signal and the flyover in Adyar serve no purpose at that point of time,” he said.
The 16-span new bridge is being completed within the stipulated time. The new facility would be 0.5 metre higher than the present bridge and the one of the retaining walls of the existing facility would be the median.