Fear land acquisition will affect livelihood; have petitioned for a four-lane facility

The Chennai Tiruvallur High Road may soon get a new lease of life as the State Highways department is gearing up to widen the vital link between the city and its western suburbs.

However, residents and traders are divided over the proposal to develop the road into a six-lane facility.

Earlier this month, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced in the Assembly that the 22-km stretch of the road between Padi and Thiruninravur would be widened into a six-lane facility. It was announced that in the first phase, the road would be developed into a four-lane facility at a cost of Rs. 98 crore.

While residents want the long-neglected road to be upgraded, some traders’ federations, including the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peravai, are against the proposal to make it a six-lane road. Members of the traders’ federation recently submitted a petition to the Chief Minister, appealing to the government to develop the road as a four-lane facility.

Once the work on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) between Vandalur and Minjur is completed, the congestion on CTH Road will reduce as heavy vehicles would be able to take the ORR. Further upgradation to a six-lane road would involve land acquisition and affect traders, members said.

However, residents of several areas along the road, including Ambattur and Avadi, are pressing for implementation of the project as it would help decongest the road.

Pointing out that the road had been neglected for over a decade now, S. Chalapathy, a resident of Korattur, said it took him nearly two hours to travel to Pattabiram during peak hours, against 40 minutes at other times. Many narrow stretches on the road contribute to the frequent occurrence of traffic bottlenecks.

K.S. Gopalakrishnan, a resident of Thandurai, said the stretch of the road near Pattabiram had witnessed at least eight accidents over the past few months. Residents who hesitate to vie for space with heavy vehicles on the narrow road take a detour of 6-7 km through Chinnamman Koil Street at Avadi to reach Ambattur.

“As there is not much space to overtake the preceding heavy vehicles, I have to slow down on the dusty road,” he said.

Former Sriperumbudur Member of Parliament A. Krishnaswami said nearly eight lakh residents in the city’s western suburbs depend on the road for commute to the city. It was essential to make it a six-lane road to deal with the growing traffic in fast-developing areas, he said.

According to sources in the Highways, estimates are being prepared to develop the road, which has a width of 8-10 metre at present, to a 20 metre-wide four-lane facility. This would not require any land acquisition.

Over one lakh passenger car units are expected to be using the road every day. Work on the first phase would start in four months. The second phase of the project too would require only minimum land acquisition, the sources said.

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