The service lane on Anna Salai, meant for MTC buses and ambulances following traffic diversions put in place for Metro Rail work, is now clogged all day.
In addition to buses, a long row of cars, two-wheelers and autorickshaws generally queues up along the service lane every day, right from the Thevar statue junction, up until the point near Kamarajar Arangam.
Traffic police officers along this stretch said it was very difficult to ensure smooth flow of traffic. A traffic policeman on duty in Teynampet, who did not wish to be named, said several motorists don’t care about the red light. According to him, getting motorists to stop ahead of the stop line is an even greater challenge. “When I stop the vehicles, some tell me they are from the DMK, or AIADMK. Otherwise, they claim to be a lawyer, or from the press. What do we do?” he asked.
A total of seven underground Metro Rail stations are being constructed along Anna Salai. After construction began, traffic diversions were made in April last year, making Anna Salai, an arterial road, a largely one-way stretch. However, a service lane was created to permit select vehicles plying from Saidapet towards Teynampet, with the rest being diverted via South Boag Road.
According to Karuna Sagaran, additional commissioner of police (traffic), the lane is meant for buses and emergency vehicles. “We decided to permit a few local vehicles of establishment along the service lane.”
But increasingly, motorists claiming to go to one of the offices or hotels along the line are also using the service lane. “It is always a challenge to regulate traffic this way. The purpose of the service lane there is clear. But unless motorists cooperate, it is very difficult for us,” he said. The Hindu
Motorists and pedestrians, who use the road frequently, point to the spot near Thevar statue – where the clogged service lane often leads to a traffic jam at the signal. “Vehicles waiting to turn right, towards T. Nagar have a hard cause time because of this chaos,” said S.V. Bharath, a motorist.
Traffic police said though they try their best regulate traffic, they often find barricades moved and the ropes (demarcating the service lane) cut in the morning. “This is one of the busiest roads in the city and motorists should be responsible and obey rules. Maybe higher fines will teach them a lesson,” said a traffic policeman.