No space for transport system on IT corridor

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CHAOS: The stretch of Old Mahabalipuram Road near Kanthanchavadi chokes up with peak hour morning traffic. Photo: M. Karunakaran
CHAOS: The stretch of Old Mahabalipuram Road near Kanthanchavadi chokes up with peak hour morning traffic. Photo: M. Karunakaran

Sandhya Soman

There will be another traffic survey next month

Project behind schedule but to pick up pace in next three month More IT companies, educational institutions to come up on the stretch Buses, trains needed to handle residential traffic

CHENNAI: Land has been acquired and sold to major players to set up shop along the IT corridor. Yet the road to the State's ambitious project does not have any space for a mass transport system, say planners and experts.

The first phase of the six-lane project the 20-km-stretch connecting Madhya Kailash and Siruseri is expected to be completed by September 2006. In the second phase, Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC) would develop the stretch of Old Mahabalipuram Road from Siruseri to Mahabalipuram.

"As of now, the four-lane road with two service lanes will have only two-wheelers, four-wheelers and company-run buses. The MRTS will branch off to Velachery, and MTC does not have the fleet strength to transport the already-rising commuters," says a planner in the CMDA.

Even before TNRDC made any headway in acquiring land for the first phase in 2004, companies and IT parks started coming up.

"We did a traffic survey in 2004. Now that new companies have come up, there are lots of vehicles on the road. We will be doing another traffic survey next month," says a TNRDC official.

According to a senior official, though the project is behind schedule, it would pick up in the next three months. "A substantial portion of land acquisition is over. Of the 88 High Court cases against acquisition, the court has given either final or interim orders in 76 cases. We have also removed 11,000 trucks of debris," says the official.

He says the project takes into account for the growth of traffic in the next 10 years. "We have several smaller projects based on the traffic volume, which varies from 6,000 passenger car unit spaces to 50,000 pcus. We are thinking about building a Rs. 20 crore underpass at Tiruvanmiyur junction," the official says.

Chaos expected

However, planners point out that transportation planning for the next 10 years would be feasible, only if there is an effective mass transport system.

Says a highways department official: "The traffic has already increased, especially the two-wheeler population. Even if companies run special buses for their employees, we will have traffic chaos if there are no buses or trains to share the load and provide transport for residential colonies along the stretch."

At least two mini townships are coming up for IT company employees and four institutions of higher education are planning to move to this area.

"We need a mass transport system as we are expecting one million people to use and reside in and around the IT corridor," says T. Anantharajan, academician and urban planner.

CMDA officials say the service lanes are more than enough to accommodate more buses. Funds from the Centre's latest initiative, the National Urban Renewal Mission, could be tapped to procure more buses, experts say.

Another possibility, planners say, is to extend the MRTS up to Mahabalipuram along the Buckingham Canal.




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