Patch-up work will be undertaken after 7 years; permission sought to convert it to State highway

For commuters who undertake the harrowing ride on Chennai Tiruvallur High Road (CTH), some welcome respite might soon be on its way. The highways department has sought funds from the State government for patch-up work.

Though the road, a national highway, is under the jurisdiction of the National Highways Authority of India(NHAI), the department has initiated this step following long-pending demands from residents.

No work has been undertaken on the road for nearly seven years.

The highways department has sought the conversion of the national highway to a state highway. “Anticipating approval for this proposal from the Central government, we have sought Rs. 5 crore from the State,” a source said.

The NHAI’s proposal to widen the 22-km stretch into a 200-feet facility had to be dropped following stiff protests from traders and some residents. The road thus remains narrow at many stretches despite the increase in the volume of traffic every year. The blacktopping has been ripped off from various parts of the road between Padi and Avadi.

Muralidharan, a resident of Kumaran Nagar, Avadi, said it is difficult to cross the stretch even during medical emergencies. “It takes more than an hour to travel 12 km between Thiruninravur and Ambattur as several vehicles vie for space on the narrow road full of encroachments,” he said.

“The delay in underground drainage and water supply network projects at Avadi has also led to the narrowing of space,” he added

S. Srinivasan, who uses the road daily, said that driving on the road has become a difficult task as heavy vehicles kick up a dust storm as they negotiate the damaged unpaved portions. Several stretches, including near the Ambattur telephone exchange, Mannurpet, Ambattur OT bus terminus and Avadi check post, are accident-prone zones as they are battered and narrow, he said.

Lack of street illumination and medians add to the residents’ woes. S. Alarmelmangai, a resident of Prakash Nagar, Thiruninravur, said that pedestrians are the worst affected as there are no footpaths or traffic personnel to regulate traffic.

She recalled a recent accident when a pedestrian was hit by a motorbike during his attempt to cross the CTH road near Pattabiram.

Residents also specifically complained about the portion of the road at Nemilicherry where Phase I of the Outer Ring Road cuts across the CTH Road.

Initially, only patch-work can be taken up as underground drainage work is on in Ambattur and Avadi areas.

“But even this work will help reduce traffic snarls. During the course of the drainage work, corrections including raising the height of the road and construction of drains at water stagnation points will be taken up. The road will be laid after the completion of the UGD,” the official said.

The NHAI had written to the State highways a few years ago stating that it cannot take up widening on this stretch as it was densely populated and traders were strongly against the move. Work on widening the remainder of the road up to Tirupathi is progressing well.

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