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Water-filled craters test skill, patience of drivers

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CHAOS: An earth mover pushing a truck that broke down owing to a crater on National Highway- 47 at Walayar. (Right) Vehicles struggling to wade through craters on the road. –
CHAOS: An earth mover pushing a truck that broke down owing to a crater on National Highway- 47 at Walayar. (Right) Vehicles struggling to wade through craters on the road. –

V.S. Palaniappan

Not even acrobats can ensure a safe drive; traffic between Kerala and Tamil Nadu comes to a standstill

Coimbatore: Traffic between Tamil Nadu and Kerala is continuing to suffer for the last 15 days with torrential rain turning potholes into “ponds” and craters near Walayar on National Highway-47. A short stretch of the National Highway, near the State border, looks like a ploughed paddy field. Big potholes ensure a bumpy ride for motorists for over 7 km from Ettimadai.

If one passes the test without any accidents, a pond on the middle of the road will check your negotiating skills.

Efforts by truck operators and shop keepers to make the road motorable by dumping gravel and debris have gone in vain because of the traffic density and continuing rain.

With Western Ghats continuing to get heavy rain, water continues to flow down towards the Walayar tank eroding a stretch of the National Highway hardly few hundred feet from the bridge (across the river Walayar) that marks the border for both the States.

Local residents and regular users of the road say that lack of provision for the water to flow across the road from the hilly terrain to the tank has led to battering of the road completely.

What remained as a pothole last month has become a “pond” today owing to lack of regular maintenance. Since a motorist takes at least two to three minutes to get past the crater, traffic inches along one side at a time resulting in the formation of a winding queue of vehicles for nearly 3 km.

If any impatient driver tries to outsmart others, the whole vehicular movement comes to a standstill.

On Tuesday, only one earth mover was deployed to clear the stagnant water in the “pond.” Later, the Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore Rural District, G. Karthikeyan, deployed a patrol vehicle with adequate strength for regulating the traffic.

Collector’s promise

The District Collector, Neeraj Mittal, said the attention of the National Highways Authority of India had been drawn and that efforts were on to set right at least 20 potholes identified so far. He said that the battered stretch would be made motorable within 72 hours.

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