At a time when arterial roads and highways in the city and suburbs are being upgraded, here is a 30-km stretch that lies battered and bruised. Residents protest as plans to widen Padi-Thirunindravur stretch of CTH Road are shelved

At a time when arterial roads and highways in the city and suburbs are being upgraded, here is a 30-km stretch that lies battered and bruised.

Though the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) gave up plans to widen the Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road (CTH) from Padi to Thirunindravur a few months ago, residents in nearby localities want the road to be expanded at any cost.

Problems over land acquisition and stiff resistance from traders had led to the NHAI giving up the project. It has however taken up work on the remaining portion of CTH Road that goes to Tirupati.

The problem is set to get worse as the NHAI, from April 1, stopped maintaining the stretch of the road. It had earlier cited the lack of a dedicated wing as the reason for not being able to do so. Residents complain that travelling on CTH Road has become a harrowing experience as vehicles vie for space on the narrow and battered stretches. Peak-hour traffic could delay motorists by one hour.

L. Arun, who works at a company in Avadi, said the stretch from Lucas TVS to Avadi bus stand was in a poor condition. “Many junctions including ones at Korattur, Ambattur Estate, Canara Bank, Padi-Britannia and Ivan Stedford hospital are battered. Many motorists are at a risk of developing back aches as a result of driving over the bumps. Vehicles move at a very slow pace and traffic jams are very common,” he said.

At many points, this vital link to the Tiruvallur district headquarters is only 35-feet-wide. “We physically measured the black topping area of the road at Pattabiram and it was just 37-feet-wide. At Thirunindravur, the width was 45-feet. There is space on either side that has not been paved in many stretches such as Mannurpet and Ambattur,” said T. Sadagopan, a resident of Pattabiram. The project would have helped increase the width of the road to at least 100 feet.

Another Pattabiram resident, Roy Rozario, said, “Considering the amount of traffic, the lack of traffic signals and traffic policemen, the road is a death trap. The government cited the traders' protest as the reason for not acquiring land. If that is the excuse, no road can be widened. In the past, this government has taken severe steps and widened roads. We hope the authorities understand our plight.”

Poor illumination, insufficient traffic signals and absence of barricades also lead to accidents, say residents. Four years ago, the NHAI had proposed to turn the road into a four-lane facility. However, hundreds of traders protested saying their livelihood would be affected.

A. Mohan, president of Federation of Padi-Thirunindravur CTH Road Traders and Residents Welfare Association, said, “We recently submitted a petition to the State Highways department to widen the road to 80 feet as it would do minimal damage. There are nearly 20,000 structures that may suffer if the road is widened further.”

The State Government had, during a recent meeting with the Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport, stressed the need for maintaining the stretch. Sources in the Highways Department said they were awaiting funds from the Central Government.

However, a portion of CTH Road will be widened near Nemilicherry where an interchange for the Outer Ring Road is coming up. Moreover, residents of Avadi and Pattabiram would have access to ORR that cuts across CTH Road. Residents of other areas along CTH Road, too, want to enjoy better access and a hassle-free ride.

Keywords: battered roads

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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