Availability of land a problem; 600 m-long stretch near Aminjikarai is the cause of bottlenecks
Work to widen a stretch on Poonamallee High Road near Aminjikarai has been put on hold by the highways department due to lack of availability of land.
This 600-m stretch is crucial because it is the cause of traffic jams every day.
“We knocked down buildings, and constructed stormwater drains and footpaths only up to where we had land. We will shift the median so that both the sides have equal lane space,” said a source in the department.
Residents of Aminjikarai point to a handful of buildings on the road when asked for the cause of the bottlenecks. The width of the 14-km-long road suddenly narrows down to just two lanes at this point, considerably slowing down traffic movement between 8.45 a.m. and 10 a.m. and then again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the spot.
G. Sam, a resident of Anna Nagar who commutes to T. Nagar daily, said he usually avoided travelling on the stretch during the peak hours. “There are a handful of buildings and they block free movement of vehicles. Steps must be taken to remove these buildings. They are blocking free movement of vehicles. Already Metro Rail work is happening on that road causing a reduction in travel speed. I don’t want to slow down further by waiting for about 10 minutes to cover about half a kilometre,” he said.
Sources in the highways department, under whose control the road is, said efforts were on to widen the stretch. “Already a few buildings on one side of the road have been demolished and stormwater drains and footpaths have been constructed recently. A few building owners have obtained a stay against the widening,” said a source.
The arterial road, which carries over 1.70 lakh vehicles daily, begins at Muthuswamy Bridge near MMC and ends at Maduravoyal. It is does not have a uniform width of 30 metres at all points.
Two other stretches of the road — from Koyambedu to Anna Nagar arch and another from Ripon Buildings to Government Arts College — also cause slowing down of vehicular movement and are yet to be widened.
Apart from these three narrow stretches, the road also has a lot of encroachments on the footpaths. “Hundreds of shopkeepers have taken up considerable space and make it impossible for pedestrians to walk on the footpaths. For instance many shopkeepers have constructed steps, awnings and even extended their shops, using up pedestrian space. Efforts must be taken to remove such encroachments,” said K. Vijaya, a resident of Kilpauk.
Keywords: PH road widening