A weekend trip with your family or friends is usually an occasion for merry-making. But if there’s one thing that puts a spoke in your wheel, it’s the toll plazas at regular intervals on the Tambaram-Tindivanam route.

K. Raju, who recently travelled to Puducherry, said he had returned through the ECR route via Mamallapuram as he did not want to wait at the three facilities on the Tindivanam route. “I had paid the two-way toll, but the mere thought of waiting for a couple of minutes at each of plazas made me change my decision.”

He is not alone as the toll plazas are a bugbear for many motorists who travel to places such as Puducherry, Tiruchi and Bangalore. The situation gets especially bad during peak traffic hours, they added. These routes are managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

S. Bhuvaneswaran, a realtor in Chennai who travels almost daily to Puducherry, also said he preferred the ECR to the Tindivanam route. “In the mornings and evenings, the Tambaram route is congested. It takes about two hours just to get into the city from near Tambaram. On the ECR, it takes me just two hours to reach Chennai,” he said.

Jayanand, who travels twice a month to Bangalore, said that of late, he preferred to take a bus. “There are too many tolls and driving is not very safe. I drive only if it is an absolute necessity,” he said.

Sources in the NHAI said that a pilot project to implement Radio Frequency ID cards on the Chennai-Bangalore route is in an advanced stage and that the project would be implemented in two months time. Commuters will be able to buy recharge cards and every time they approach the toll plaza, a particular amount will automatically be deducted from their balance. They can thus avoid having to wait at the facility.

“State Bank of India, which is our nodal agency, has completed work on the software and RFID cards. We have asked the five concessionaires to create additional lanes for vehicles with RFID cards. If this project is successful, we it implement it on other routes as well,” said I.G .Reddy, Chief General Manager (Hyderabad) of NHAI.

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