There are in all 13 flyovers, including the Anna flyover, in the city. Two more — in Perambur and Turnbulls Road - are nearing completion. If the Chennai Corporation’s plans are put in action, there will be three more - in T.Nagar, Mint and Thiruvanmiyur.
Have these flyovers helped? Not really, say the experts. They view the flyovers as standalone solutions, constructed in an isolated manner without taking even nearby junctions into consideration.
K. P. Subramanian, former professor, Anna University, has strong views. He does not see them as solutions to traffic congestion, but at many places, have become the problem and by accentuating congestion on the roads leading up to them. “In most cases, only particular intersections are upgraded, while the preceding ones or the ones that follow are not. Consequently, acute congestion is caused at landing points of ramps resulting in serpentine queues. The flyover near IIT is a classic example,” he said. He suggests that a zero-tolerance policy towards unauthorised parking be practised.
Urban planner A. N. Sachithanandan said that the Anna flyover, the one on Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai and grade separators at Kathipara and Padi have helped in smooth traffic flow. However, other flyovers are only half-hearted attempts at solving traffic problems. “What we need is a comprehensive traffic and traffic plan. Also, we need to fix the building line for all major roads so that whoever comes for reconstruction of property must give space in front so that we can widen roads after a period of time. The encroachments on road and pedestrian paths must be removed immediately.”
Senior officials of the Corporation said that the flyovers have helped decongest Chennai’s roads that are used by over 29.3 lakh vehicles. As per a mobility survey conducted this year, Chennai has a better rate of speed of movement compared to Delhi and Mumbai.
The officials think when the Metro Rail project is completed, more people will use public transport and the burden on the roads would be reduced. They also think that the lesser-used roads must be dovetailed into the traffic plan and utilised efficiently. “We can hope to widen more roads with the introduction of Transfer of Development Rights that will provide incentives to property owners to part with the land required,” an official of the Corporation said.