Road users in north Chennai invariably find arterial roads in their locality clogged with traffic, and the primary reason for this is that the roads here are narrow.
The number of vehicles in north Chennai has been increasing by leaps and bounds, but the width of the roads has remained the same for several years.
Perambur Barracks Road for instance, is a vital stretch for residents of Pulianthope, Perambur, Thiru Vi. Ka. Nagar and Kolathur, but the road is so narrow that whenever heavy vehicles ply, it gets congested.
R. Udayakumar, a resident of Kolathur, said Perambur Barracks Road, Paper Mills Road and Madhavaram High Road, are almost always choked, because their width is inadequate. This, combined with unauthorised parking on the margins, caused havoc, he said. Though residents complain about parked vehicles and hawkers eating into road space, city planners point out that the mushrooming of commercial establishments on both sides of these roads has made it difficult to widen them.
While the Chennai Corporation and the Highways department have been able to add new roads and expand several others in south Chennai, they have found it difficult to widen roads in the north because of the large number of people who would have to be displaced and the huge costs involved in land acquisition.
J. Balaji, a resident of Thiru Vi. Ka. Nagar and a former long-time resident of Kosapet, said he faced a daily ordeal, driving his vehicle through narrow and congested roads to reach his office in Broadway. A proposal to widen Perambur Barracks Road has been pending for several years, he said. He also recalled an incident in 1981 when the road was made a one-way by the Corporation to ‘widen’ it, but no further steps were taken.