Proposal is for those using Anna Salai, P.H. Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai

If the consultancy firm appointed to prepare a detailed project report to upgrade Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai has its way, Chennaiites driving along these arterial roads could have to pay congestion tax in a year or two.

In an effort to reduce congestion on these roads, the contractor is looking at options including congestion pricing, electronic road pricing and ramp metering. Dynamic message boards informing motorists about traffic blocks or slow traffic a few kilometres ahead are among others proposals.

Representatives of S.N. Bhobe and Associates, who gave a presentation to various stakeholders including government department officials on Monday, said they had already started collecting secondary data from stakeholders and had completed reconnaissance surveys.

Other possibilities they were considering for the 62-km length of roads included foot overbridges with ramps that can be used by people of all age groups, and skywalks. Half-sunken and half-raised flyovers with facilities beneath for allowing uninterrupted pedestrian crossings were also being looked as options, the officials explained.

According to the terms of reference, the company has to provide a detailed traffic and roadway improvement plan, streetscape improvement plan, design of individual elements and traffic management plan within a period of 9 months.

State Highways Minister Edapadi K.Palanisamy who inaugurated the session said that the Chief Minister had asked the department to find ways and means to reduce congestion in the city. The work would be coordinated with the Chennai Metro Rail project so that when they dig for stations and the shifting of utilities is done, the upgradation could also be taken up.

Highways Secretary T.K. Ramachandran said that the height of the roads would be fixed according to mean sea level and cold milling would be done wherever necessary. The Jawaharlal Nehru Salai would be the first road on which work would commence. Mr. Ramachandran also said that while executing the upgradation work, care must be taken to ensure the safety of heritage structures.

Shreya Gadepalli, regional Director – India, ITDP said specific street design guidelines were required for each of the roads.

She said that though the Indian Roads Congress provided some guidelines, they were not enough. For adequate tree cover for pedestrians she said around 80 – 100 trees per kilometre were needed.

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