Requests State Highways Department to take over the maintenance of the 23-km stretch

Stiff resistance from traders and expansion of Chennai Corporation limits has led to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) deciding against widening the stretch of Chennai Tiruvallur High (CTH) Road between Padi and Thiruninravur. Instead, it has requested the State Highways Department to take over the maintenance of the 23-km stretch.

As a major portion of the road between Thiruninavur and Padi has come under the Chennai Corporation limits, following the merger of Ambattur Municipality with the Corporation, the NHAI has written to the Highways Department to take over its maintenance.

Sources in NHAI said that the four-laning project, which was planned four years ago, involved major land acquisition.

Only minimal repair work had been undertaken in these four years on the road. As a result, motorists are forced to endure dusty and bumpy ride. Residents said many stretches such as those near the First Main Road in Ambattur Industrial Estate and Thirumullaivoyal, which were already pot-holed, have become unmotorable after the north east monsoon.

S. Ravi, a resident of Vijayalakshmipuram, Ambattur, said it takes one hour to cover the nearly eight-km stretch between Thirumullaivoyal and Padi. As only a few feet of blacktopped space are available, many two-wheelers and even MTC buses ply on the unpaved area, kicking up a mini dust storm.

“I often take an alternate route via Menambedu, Karukku, Dairy Road in Ambattur industrial estate and Korattur to avoid congested CTH Road. But, I sometimes spend 20 minutes waiting at Pattaravakkam level crossing. This route helps me save half an hour,” he said.

Poor illumination and accumulation of sand on road shoulders pose risk of accidents to residents. Hari Subramaniam, resident of Secretariat Colony, Ambattur OT, said vehicles cannot avoid the potholes that have widened in many stretches. This resulted in slowing down of traffic particularly in narrow portions.

The absence of barricades also led to accidents. Traffic signals between Ambattur industrial estate and Korattur do not function properly, he said. Many residents' welfare associations have submitted representations in the past one year to the State government to remove encroachments and widen the road.

Sources in the State Highways said the department would soon seek funding from the Union government for the road's maintenance.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the four-laning project between Tirupati and Tiruvallur is progressing at a fast pace. According to sources in the NHAI, land acquisition process has been completed in 32 of 40 villages. Of the total distance of 124 km, 60 km of the road falls in Tamil Nadu. While the road would be made four-lane facility up to Tiruvallur, the remaining distance would have two lanes.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012