The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been asked to open the new bridge at Karanodai across the Kosasthalaiyar river, as soon as possible. Commissioning of the facility would be of immense benefit to those using key link to Andhra Pradesh and Kolkata.
Environment Minister B. V. Ramana and Dairy Development Minister V. Murthy, who inspected the work on the bridge on Tuesday, directed the NHAI and L&T, the concessionaire, to provide ramps and approach roads on a temporary basis.
“The existing bridge is a major bottleneck on the Chennai-Tada Road and traffic pile-ups lasting several hours are the order of the day. It is narrow and unable to take the volume of traffic. We have asked them to expedite the work,” Mr. Murthy said.
Mr.Ramana said that the concessionaire has also been asked to increase the number of counters at the toll plaza on the road. “Residents are complaining about the location of the toll plaza. If it is not correctly placed according to the rules, we have asked them to shift it,” he said.
The project to widen National Highway 5, from Chennai to Tada is already delayed. The six laning work was scheduled to be completed on October 1 this year. But NHAI sources say that it will take at least another year.
The road, a crucial link for vehicles proceeding to and from Nellore, Vijayawada, Gummidipoondi, Panchetti and other areas, also provides connectivity to 10 educational institutions. With hundreds of heavy vehicles using the toll road, the two-lane bridge at Karanodai often witnesses traffic jams.
“Some kind of temporary arrangement must be made to connect the new bridge so that the traffic jams are reduced. The toll plaza is a bottleneck and it takes at least 20 minutes to cross it. We have been requesting the NHAI to move the plaza by another 6 km so that frequent users will not be disturbed,” said K.Sureshkumar, a resident of Anna Nagar, who travels to Gummidipoondi frequently.
“A few weeks ago our students and staff members were stuck for 4-5 hours and reached home by 11.30 p.m. There are several water-logged trenches along the road leading to the Karanodai bridge. Everyday at least five of our buses are delayed due to various reasons,” said R.Chandrashekar, Principal, Velammal Institute of Technology, Panchetti.
A senior official of NHAI said that land acquisition is being expedited.
Our Kancheepuram staff reporter adds:
The Ministers were accompanied by Tiruvallur Collector Ashish Chatterjee and other officials. The visit to the bridge in Ponneri taluk, according to Tiruvallur district officials, followed several representations about frequent congestion problem on GNT Road near the toll plaza.