Chennai Tiruvallur High (CTH) Road, a vital link between western suburbs and the city, saw more number of fatal accidents in 2010.
According to Chennai Suburban Police statistics, 69 persons were killed in accidents on the stretch of the road between Padi and Thiruninravur last year. During 2009, the number of fatalities was 54. The number of persons who were injured in accidents on the road also went up from 163 in 2009 to 224 last year.
Traffic police cite the poor illumination and absence of median on many stretches among the major reasons for the increase in the number of accidents.
For motorists, the inadequate illumination adds to the challenges posed by congestion on the road as a result of the movement of heavy vehicles. K.Balan, a resident of Thirumullaivoyal, said barring some portions in Ambattur and Avadi, much of the 40 km stretch of the road from Padi to Tiruvallur lacks street illumination.
“Like me hundreds of two-wheeler riders depend on their vehicle's headlight, which is not enough. The glare from headlights of the oncoming vehicles compounds the problems,” he said.
Residents of many localities along the road said they often run the risk of accidents at narrow stretches, such as Mannurpet, due to the poor illumination. “I vie for space with heavy vehicles and during night hours, I have to ride with extra care. I try to remember the stretches with potholes that I negotiated in the morning as in the evening they are not properly visible,” said D.Sheeba, a resident of Ambattur.
Residents of Avadi and its neighbouring localities said that even the few streetlights in the Ambattur and Avadi limits often do not burn.
S.Babu, president of Prakash Nagar Main Road Walkers' Association, Thiruninravur, said the absence of street lights between Pattabiram and Tiruvallur resulted in accidents, many of them fatal.
E.Govindaswamy, the association's vice president, said some stretches of CTH Road such as those in Sevvapet and Veppampattu have turned very risky to use during night.
Traffic police have written to local bodies and the National Highways Authority of India to install more streetlights and take measures to widen the road.
G.Karthikeyan, Deputy Commissioner (Traffic), Chennai Suburban Police, said nearly 80 per cent of the accident victims were two-wheeler riders and pedestrians. Absence of pavements, insufficient streetlights and poor road engineering were some of the factors that led to the accidents.
Many head-on collisions happened on the stretches between Avadi and Thiruninravur and Thirumullaivoyal and Avadi due to lack of median and narrow road, he said.
Following repeated representations from residents, Ambattur Municipality has proposed to install a high mast lamp on CTH Road near Mannurpet at a cost of Rs.6 lakh.
Ambattur Municipality chairman K.N.Sekar said the local body has already provided streetlights in some places, including Ambattur Industrial Estate and Korattur. There are plans to provide more.
Officials at Avadi Municipality said cost estimates of installing sodium vapour lights on the road along various areas, including Pattabiram and Nemilichery, were being prepared.