Only 35% work has been completed so far, says Highways

Residents of north Chennai dread travelling through Moolakadai junction as they have to find their way through heavy traffic, bad roads and clouds of dust, every day.

The reason — construction of Moolakadai flyover, which began in 2011, has come to a standstill over the past few months, causing hardship to road users.

Only 35 per cent of the work has been completed so far, according to sources in the highways department. The work has turned the intersection of Madhavaram High Road and GNT Road chaotic, especially during peak hours, leaving motorists high and dry.

“I travel to Thapalpetti in Madhavaram every day via Moolakadai junction. The service lanes are filled with potholes. There is heavy traffic congestion as vehicles line up on all sides of the junction,” said M. Sekar, a motorist.

Several residents and shopkeepers said the situation will improve if the highways department lays the services lanes. “Many residents have started to avoid travelling through the junction. Some of them are finding alternative routes to reach their destinations as this junction is not just risky but also filled with dust,” said A. Nakulan, who runs a sweet stall near the junction. He said at least 30 metres of road on either side have been earmarked for service lanes.

“Let the authorities complete the flyover whenever they can, but they should lay proper service lanes, at the least, to make travelling easy,” said Ismail, another road user.

For the most part of the day, only one traffic policeman is posted there to regulate traffic flow, he said.

“The work has come to a standstill over the past few months. There have been a number of accidents, including fatal ones since the flyover work began, owing to the bad roads,” said G.D. Benjamin, a resident of Moolakadai.

An official of the highways department said the project contractor is facing a financial crunch and hence the work has slowed down. The department had issued a show-cause notice and imposed a fine of Rs. 1 crore on the contractor.

However, the official said, after the notice was issued, the contractor agreed to complete construction of stormwater drains and lay service lanes within 15 days.

The company has also agreed to complete the construction of the flyover. If the construction is not speeded up, the department will not hesitate to take action, including termination of the contract, the official said.