Service lanes on Anna Salai, which are frequently used by various agencies for road cuts, are ridden with potholes

It is that time of the year when the city's residents begin to worry about the condition of roads. The odd showers are getting frequent and the air is full of promise of a heavy monsoon. Past experience and the present conditions show that several roads are close to losing their top layer, while potholes are likely to widen under the wheels of heavy vehicles.

If the problem with roads being maintained by the Chennai Corporation is water stagnation, the after-effects of road cuts and incomplete storm water drain work, Highways Department officials face issues of Metro Rail taking up road space and weak drainage systems.

Traffic slowed

Traffic has considerably slowed down on important thoroughfares, including Konnur High Road, Gandhi Mandapam Salai, General Patters Road, Five Furlong Road in Maduvankarai, at the Vijayanagar junction and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai due to the road condition.

The service lanes on Anna Salai, which are frequently used for road cuts by various government agencies, are ridden with potholes. Sources in the Highways Department said that a special grant to improve the condition of city roads would be released soon. “On Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, three lanes have been taken up by the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. Because of this the hard shoulders on either side, which were intended for light vehicles are being used by heavy vehicles. This has also caused the quality of the road to deteriorate,” said a source.

The Chennai Corporation has had to tackle 200 road cuts since January this year on bus route roads alone. “Apart from this, the interior roads have also been cut. We are unable to deny permission to service providers when power cables are to be replaced or sewer lines get damaged. Last year a total of 154 roads were covered under the Special Roads programme,” said Corporation Commissioner D.Karthikeyan.

Due to constant use by vehicles, the soil in the temporarily closed road cuts often cave in and there have been instances of two-wheeler riders falling or wheels of heavy vehicles getting stuck in the slush. Several interior roads often bear the brunt of heavy showers as not all of them are laid.

K.Ramalingam of Choolai, said roads such as Bakers Street and Maddox Street are in dire need of blacktopping. Development works being carried out on Choolai High Road and Avadhana Pappiah Road must be completed soon.

Motorists find it difficult to drive on many roads in MKB Nagar as they have many potholes. A resident in the area Ravindra Gupta said though patch work was carried, including on First Avenue, Fourth Main Road and Fourth Cross Street, it did not withstand the recent showers.

The stormwater drain work on Ninth Main Road, Anna Nagar, which the residents want to be expedited, has also damaged the remaining portion of the road. Residents of Ashok Nagar said Second Avenue that links traffic with Jawaharlal Nehru Salai has developed potholes in just a few days after the recent rain. The case of Velachery Bypass Road is no different as utility providers have dug the road at many points.

The situation is no better in the suburbs, particularly in Ambattur Municipality. Residents of Mogappair said though works pertaining to underground drainage and water supply projects were completed three months ago, several damaged roads, including those at TVS Colony, Officers Colony and Jeswant Nagar, have not been laid.

Deepali Jindal, a resident of Jeswant Nagar, said roads in their area remained slushy for over three months now. “School vans are refusing to ply to our area and as a result we incur more expenditure on daily travel. The only option is to take autorickshaws, who demand exorbitant rates,” she said.

Representatives protest

Elected representatives of Ambattur protested during a recent council meeting and did not pass 90 resolutions asking that road works be taken up soon. P.Madhi, a councillor, said that tenders for road works worth Rs.4 crore after fixing dates last month had not been floated.

Sources in the Municipality said that merger of the local body with Chennai Corporation was in the pipeline and they had been asked to not to take up any major projects.

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