In a few months, the much-battered Chennai Tiruvallur High (CTH) Road will turn motorable once again.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has drawn up estimates to repair the 22-km stretch of CTH Road from Padi to Thirunindravur. Earlier, the State Highways Department had refused to take over the maintenance of the urbanised stretch of this arterial road.
The arterial road is a vital link for residents of western suburbs to travel to the city. For over a decade now, residents have been grappling with the condition of the road. S. Chalapathy, a resident of Korattur, said, “It is very difficult to travel on the road, with a reduced width of 30-40 feet in some stretches. I cannot avoid pothole-ridden stretches near the Ambattur telephone exchange and Mannurpet.”
Many motorists say they spend several hours in crawling traffic as they have to vie for space on the bruised road. As road shoulders have not been paved, vehicles kick up dust, making it worse for two-wheeler riders and pedestrians.
While those negotiating the stretch between Padi and Thirumullaivoyal encounter problems caused by encroachments and unpaved portions, residents travelling to localities between Avadi and Thiruninravur face additional woes.
P. Murali, a resident of Avadi, said that both sides of the narrow road were dug up to lay pipelines for drinking water and underground drainage network. The trenches have not been covered properly. As heaps of mud has been left uncleared, motorists frequently face accidents.
Various residents’ welfare organisations demand that the road be developed into a 100-feet facility. Roy Rozario, general secretary of People’s Voice, said, “It must be made at least into a two-lane facility before the Outer Ring Road is completed near Nemilichery. The level crossing that intersects on CTH Road must be provided with a road overbridge to prevent traffic congestion.”
The NHAI, which is presently widening the road between Tirupati and Tiruvallur to a four-lane facility, has drawn up an estimate of Rs. 53 lakh to repair the road.
The central agency is widening the 124-km long road at a cost of around Rs. 1,000 crore. While the road would be made a four-lane facility up to Tiruvallur, the remaining portion of the road, which runs through Nagari and Tiruttani, would have two lanes.
The NHAI had earlier dropped its proposal to widen the 22-km stretch as vendors and residents opposed the move. In January this year, it had asked the State Highways to take over maintenance. In return, the Highways had sought funds for maintenance.
“We would need at least Rs.1 crore per kilometre to restore the bad road. We have expressed our inability to maintain the road without funds,” said a source in the department.