Efforts to improve it with World Bank assistance have not materialised
TAMBARAM: Though several improvement works have been taken up on Velachery Main Road, a small and narrow portion of the arterial road between Pallikaranai and Medavakkam is yet to witness any development.
The State Highway No.48 (also called Marmalong Bridge-Irumbuliyur Road in official parlance) is 21-km long and connects Tambaram with Saidapet via Velachery. In 2002, improvement works, including widening and provision of temporary medians wherever possible, began on this crucial arterial road between Velachery junction and East Tambaram.
The road, coming under Chennai Corporation limits, was improved several years ago. While the entire length was improved upon, the small stretch between Pallikaranai and Medavakkam has been ignored. While the rest of the road is a dual four-lane highway with a width of 7 m on either sides, this 4-km-long stretch remains a two-lane road with a total width of just 7 m.
The death of five men in separate accidents on different points on this road in June last year prompted the Kancheepuram district administration and the State Highways Department to begin construction of permanent raised medians. Some local bodies, including Sembakkam Town Panchayat and Medavakkam Village Panchayat, pitched in by installing street lamps on the medians for better illumination as part of their efforts to reduce the rate of accidents.
Enquiries with officials of the department revealed that during 2005-06 they had mooted a proposal to carry out improvement works on the Pallikaranai-Medavakkam stretch at a cost of Rs.11 crore with assistance from the World Bank, but it did not materialise. Officials said that as it was now proposed to widen Velachery Main Road further as a six-lane highway they had started preparing estimates for acquiring land between Pallikaranai and Medavakkam.
This stretch was crucial, but there were acute problems during rush hour owing to movement of vehicles from Sholinganallur to Velachery via Medavakkam and Pallikaranai.
The estimates were prepared and civil works were expected to begin next year. At present, they were spending Rs.2 crore on widening this main road between the Medavakkam and Mambakkam intersections.