On Saturday, vehicles piled up on either side of the road
ERODE: The loss of life of a motorist on Cauvery Road on Saturday morning and the subsequent traffic jam it caused has once again brought to the fore the vulnerability of the road to the slightest of traffic disturbances.
Soon after the death even as the police began regulating traffic, vehicles piled up on either side of the road, which serves as the only gateway to the town from Pallipalayam, Tiruchengode, the rest of Namakkal district and even Salem and other areas east.
Hundreds of vehicles right from KNK Road - Cauvery Road junction to the bridge across Cauvery stood one after the other for long. In the opposite direction it was worse: traffic was blocked from as far as Pallipalayam junction to KNK Road junction. It took about a couple of hours to clear the jam.
Being the only road leading to Erode bus stand and with no detour available, there was very little option available for road users, though. That the policemen tried earnestly to ease the congestion did not help either.
The traffic jam was largely due to the narrow Cauvery Bridge, where two vehicles crossing the bridge in opposite direction do not have an inch of manoeuvrable space on either side. If a bus were to get caught behind a bullock cart or any slow-moving vehicle, it has no choice but to trail it till the end of the bridge. And, such a sight is not quite uncommon on the bridge. In fact, it is an every minute happening.
The narrow bridge, however, has not missed the eyes of politicians. Time and again when politicians or different Assembly committees visit Erode they promise to look into the issue of widening the bridge. Their promises have remained just that, at least for the past eight years.
Further away from the bridge towards Erode, things are no different on the road. Encroached buildings opposite the Alagarasan Nagar are in plenty. And, further down the road, the new practise of allowing vehicles coming in from Pallipalayam to take the Tirunagar Colony Main Road prevents the flow of vehicles proceeding towards Pallipalayam that come via KNK Road.
Earlier, it was vice versa. Vehicles proceeding to Pallipalayam would take the Tirunagar Colony Main Road and those moving to Erode Bus Stand would go via KNK Road.
Erode residents say that they want the bridge to be widened immediately to hold the increasing traffic. That the State Highways Minister happens to be from the district has only increased the hope of seeing a widened bridge and also rekindled interest that the work would be initiated sooner than later.