Of late, driving on Anna Salai and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai has become a nightmare, especially in certain spots, say motorists.
“The quality of the riding surface on these arterial roads has deteriorated. Sudden bumps come up at spots where cement concrete has been laid. Travelling even as late as 10.30 p.m. on Anna Salai takes more time than it used to,” said K. Subburaj, an autorickshaw driver.
Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) has been using three vital roads — Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai — for construction, and has taken over these roads, which belong to the Highways Department. Over 3 lakh vehicles traverse these roads daily.
“Cuts have been made to move utility service lines running below the roads, in order to facilitate metro rail lines. But the restoration has not been up to standard. Also, in future if any repairs are to be taken up on these service lines, the road would have to be cut,” complained a source in the Highways Department.
On GST Road and Anna Salai, the metro rail line runs for about 16 km, on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai it travels for about 7.4 km and on Poonamallee High road about 5 km. All these stretches have been taken over by CMRL. .
“At one spot on Poonamallee High Road, there is a sudden bump like a speedbreaker. That has happened due to improper road restoration by CMRL. It could lead to accidents as there is no marking of any sort at the spot,” said a source in the department.
K. Mukundan, who drives a tourist cab, said that frequent accidents happen on stretches where road conditions are bad. “These arterial roads handle most of the city’s traffic. And so, accidents on them are dangerous. Repair works must be taken up immediately,” he said.
Another complaint was that the width of the road had shrunk in places where metro stations are coming up. “On Jawaharlal Nehru Salai at Ekkattuthangal, the road width has decreased from 16 metres to 10 metres. Similarly, at Aishwarya Kalayana Mandapam, it has reduced from 20 metres to 10 metres. These spots are already bottlenecks and no development of the road can be taken up in future unless metro rail takes up widening. These are locations where stations are coming up and would be transit points leading to more traffic,” said a department source.
In response, a source in CMRL said that only stretches in Arumbakkam and Ekkattuthangal on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai are yet to be handed over to the Highways Department, where station work is in progress.
“The first stretch of GST Road from Chellammal College to MGR Medical University has been restored and the rest will be handed over to the department by the end of this month,” the source said.
Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road are yet to be handed over to the highways department, a source said.