Hundreds of college students in Panchetti and employees of industries in Gummidipoondi can now heave a sigh of relief with work progressing briskly to connect the new bridge at Karanodai, albeit temporarily.

The bridge is part of the Rs.418.75-crore NHAI project to six-lane the National Highway 5, which is the road to Kolkata.

The old bridge, which is parallel to the new facility, is a major bottleneck on the Chennai-Tada route as the connecting road leading to it on either side is of six lanes width. The new bridge had been completed over a year ago and had not been connected as land acquisition was not done.

The temporary connection has been provided following pressure from the using public. Sources said that the National Highways Authority of India has asked the contractor L&T to connect the bridge even though land acquisition is yet to be completed.

“It is a waste of money and when we get land, we will have to undo this work and do it again. But we have been getting a lot of pressure from the public and government. It would help provide relief from traffic jams,” said a source in the NHAI.

V.V.Ravi, a professor at one of the several colleges in the stretch, said that opening of the bridge would help prevent long jams.

“There have been times when we wanted for traffic to clear for hours together and been late to college. However, even now the toll plaza does not have additional lanes a promised. Vehicles slow down considerably at the plaza too,” he said.

The project has been delayed by various factors including delay in land acquisition and change in alignment.

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