Students risk injury as they dart across the stretch near Kathipara grade separator
Every day, B. Keerthivasan of class XI of St. Thomas School and his classmates run across the GST Road from underneath the Kathipara grade separator. Nearly 1.5 lakh vehicles use the arterial road daily and the road witnesses the relentless whiz of vehicles.
“I live just across the road near the Gandhi Market. I wait for adults to cross and run along with them…that is what many other children do,” he said.
There are several schools and colleges in the area and students proceeding from Butt Road side to Guindy are able to run across the road as there is no traffic cop stationed at the point.
“Incidentally, a traffic policeman is stationed just a 100 yards away. Shouldn’t there be one near the place where the children cross,” asked M. Shindhu, a final year student of Saveetha Engineering College.
Similarly, students and pedestrians also run across the arm of the grade separator that takes off from GST Road and also Butt Road and the road that is parallel to it.
“Even if we are to use the subway beneath the grade separator, we would anyway have to run across the GST Road on either side. There is no use of doing so. So, we might as well wait for a pause in traffic and run across the road at the point where the flyover starts,” said two college students, who did not want to be named.
At night, it is even more difficult to cross the road as the headlights of vehicles glare harshly.
There are several points from where people and vehicles enter and exit below the grade separator but there is no real control over that. “At times, if vehicles from opposite directions enter the same gap, they get stuck and a mini-jam extends on to the GST Road,” said Veeramuthu, a watchman at a nearby building. The traffic signal beneath the grade separator has not been functioning for sometime now, he added.
With Chennai Metro Rail work proceeding in the area inside the space between the arms of the grade separator, one pedestrian subway is not being used and parents, children and motorists use the other one that is full of mud.
“It is hardly ever cleaned. The light inside the subway does not work. During the rains, this subway was full of water. The other one, which is kept closed now, is also full of water all year round and nobody can use it,” said Ms. Shindhu.
A senior traffic police official said that a traffic policeman would be posted at the spot where students cross the road.