The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of reconfiguring a project on the 10-km stretch of the Chennai- Tada Road (NH5) to widen it from its current four lanes to six lanes.
This reconfiguration has been necessitated because the road has urban habitations on either side from Madhavaram junction to the toll plaza at Karanodai, due to which land acquisition for the widening has been next to impossible.
Apart from the Puzhal prison, there are many houses, commercial establishments and government offices in that area. There are also a large number of underground utilities including water mains from the Puzhal Lake crisscrossing the road, which cannot be moved.
“We have asked the project consultant to try and see if the project could be taken in an elevated manner wherever possible and make it six lane-wide where there is space available. Service lanes for the road would also be incorporated in the design,” said a source with the NHAI.
Residents in the area said this was a welcome move. “Many of us have small businesses like automobile workshops and lathes. If we are to move elsewhere, we cannot survive,” said P. Vadivel, an automobile mechanic.
M. Kumaresh of Karanodai said that traffic flow at the Ambika theatre junction and the Tiruvallur Kootu Road junction must be improved. “Larsen & Toubro (L&T), which manages the road, must ensure that the toll plaza coming up now has dedicated lanes for card holders,” he said.
The road, which is infamous for its traffic jams till the toll plaza, also faces another problem – garbage. There have been complaints of local bodies in the neighbourhood, including eateries, chicken and meat stalls dumping feathers, food leftovers and other wastes inside storm water drains along the road. “At times you can find garbage on the road itself. The civic authorities must take action to clear the garbage,” said K. Ashraf, a resident of Red Hills.
Meanwhile, L&T has written to the Chennai and Tiruvallur district collectors and the NHAI requesting them to take action on those who dump garbage on the carriageway and on the side of the road.
“We have employed staff to clean the road daily. In June alone we had removed 7.7 tonnes of garbage. We are also asking the authorities for space to dump this garbage. We also have a problem with sewage lorries dumping their waste inside the storm water drains and even on the main carriageway,” said a source in the company.