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Apprehension runs high among locals

R . Krishnamoorthy
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Speeding vehicles, lack of subway make Tiruchi- Chennai Highway accident-prone

Present tense: Heavy vehicular movements on the Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway at Samayapuram Tollgate near Tiruchi. — Photo : M. Moorthy
Present tense: Heavy vehicular movements on the Tiruchi-Chennai National Highway at Samayapuram Tollgate near Tiruchi. — Photo : M. Moorthy

Four-laning of roads cutting across the city may be a boon for the travelling public. The widened road is, however, a bane for residents of localities alongside the Tiruchi-Chennai Highway in and around Samayapuram Toll Gate, a town on the outskirts that has been witnessing phenomenal urbanisation in the recent years.

Several hundreds of residents utilising the vital junction are gripped by the fear of accidents, what with vehicles whizzing past in both directions at breakneck speed. In fact, there is no scope for motorists taking the route occasionally to understand the problems of the locals. For, the presence of the bustling town in the vicinity is invisible from the highway. And the daily sufferers are the locals. Office-goers and students are the worst affected.

The problem is acutely felt also by drivers of buses operating to Tiruchi from Lalgudi, Ariyalur, Namakkal, Mannachanallur and Salem. Vehicles cross the junction from three different directions, and due to the existing confusion in the junction, accidents have become a common problem .

“Accidents happen in split second. Not a day passes without an accident at the spot,” said Kannan, an autorickshaw driver at the stand near the junction.

“We come across several near misses. Fatalities are waiting to happen. The situation should not be allowed to continue,” he said.

Residents of localities around Samayapuram Temple have to necessarily utilise the junction to reach the city. The only option for vehicles from the highway entering into the city from the spot is by taking a wrong side, due to the absence of a service lane. Since police personnel are not present at the spot for most part of the day, bus drivers feel emboldened to make halts as per their wish.

“The road engineering is apparently very poor. A sub-way demanded by the locals should have been planned for movement of pedestrians and two-wheelers at the very outset,” said John Kennedy, a local business manager.

A bus passenger Balasubramaniam boarding a bus for Perambalur at that junction was of the opinion that traffic signals are a must at the spot since speed breakers are not permitted. Likewise, the bus shelter, he said, must be appropriately located.

A home maker K. Sujatha, too, feels the same. “Every day is a nightmare since school-going children have to inevitably cross the junction. A traffic-signal system at the spot is a dire necessity,” she said.

Locals demand that if installation of traffic signals is not permitted on the highways, the possibility for erecting enough number of roadside boards along the highway specifying the vulnerability of the spot to accidents must be explored by the authorities concerned in right earnest.

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