The service roads running parallel to the barricaded and elevated Chennai Bypass have been severely damaged in many stretches, posing a severe threat to motorists, especially those riding two-wheelers and other smaller vehicles.
The condition of the stretches between Irumbuliyur and Anakaputhur, which has always been poorly maintained, has worsened over the past one month due to rains. Residents are forced to contend with severe traffic snarls, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.
The service roads are just wide enough for two small vehicles to travel alongside each other safely. As several stone crushing units catering to the needs of massive projects, including Metro Rail, are located along the service road, several hundred trucks with a capacity to carry loads weighing as much as 20 tonnes travel on this road, further wearing down the surface.
“The NHAI seems to be work as an island. We can submit our grievances to local bodies and even the State highways department, but we just cannot approach NHAI,” said M. Jeyaraj, an activist and a resident of Irumbuliyur, while pointing out to potholes all along the service road between Irumbuliyur and Tiruneermalai.
The NHAI has constructed underpasses at many locations including Irumbuliyur, West Tambaram, Kadaperi, Tiruneermalai and Anakaputhur, among others, to enable motorists to cross underneath the elevated highway.
“The stretches of the underpasses at the intersections of roads leading to Somangalam, Mudichur, Tiruneermalai and Kamarajapuram are so bad that it takes a good 15 minutes to negotiate each intersection,” said S. Anbu, who owns a tea stall in Tiruneermalai. He added that the service road was a high risk zone and a minor or a major accident occurred on the stretch between Tiruneermalai and Anakaputhur every day.
Traffic police sources said unlike arterial roads where they could place barricades to keep a check on rash driving and speeding, they could not put in place similar safety measures on the service road, considering that its width was less than 30 feet.
Chennai Bypass, taking off at Irumbuliyur on Grand Southern Trunk Road (NH45) connects with Kolkatta Highway (NH5) at Red Hills and runs through the city’s outskirts. It also touches Bengaluru Highway (NH4) at Maduravoyal.
NHAI officials were unavailable for comment.