Those living along the road said sealing off openings would force them to use service lanes, which were in bad shape

In an attempt to reduce accidents on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company has begun closing access points from the service lanes to the main carriageway.

“Two weeks ago, a car driver, who did not wait for a bus to pass, caused an accident near PTC quarters area. The bus driver, who tried to avoid the car, ended up ramming a lorry, which in turn hit the median. The median was damaged but the car driver did not even wait to see if anyone was hurt. Such incidents occur regularly,” said a source in the TNRDC, which manages the toll road. Around 50 openings in the curb are being closed using cement concrete.

However, residents living along Rajiv Gandhi Salai, popularly known as OMR, have shot off over 200 complaints to TNRDC demanding that these openings be left intact.

“We would rather access the main road directly as the state of the service lanes is very bad. Work on many of these lanes is yet to be completed. In most spots, the ducts are open and slabs are missing. There is gravel, sand and construction debris on the lanes. Walking along them is also difficult. There have been instances of vehicles falling into openings in ducts,” said Mahalingam a security guard at Kandanchavadi.

Beneath the service lanes are ducts for stormwater drains, drinking water lines, telecom lines and sewage lines. On many occasions, various service agencies have not closed the ducts properly after opening them for repair work. “I risk a fine if I park my vehicle on the road but I prefer that to leaving it on the service lane which might cave in. My friend’s car once fell into a duct and the radiator was damaged,” said K. Anandan, a driver.

Sources in the TNRDC said that openings are being left intact in certain spots. “If there is a hospital nearby, we ensure the opening is left as it is,” he said. On the completion of work on the service lanes, he said that all the work including installation of 54 bus shelters would be finished by the end of the year. “The tender for the shelters has been settled and agreement will soon be signed. They will be in place before the monsoon,” the source said.

Though tolling operations on the stretch, which is also the IT Corridor, from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri, began in December 2008, work on the road is yet to be completed.

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